University of Arizona


College of Medicine Expansion

Phoenix, Arizona

83,000 GSF, 7,711 M2

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Programming

“"SmithGroupJJR provided the U of A with the very best design services for our expanded College of Medicine and was instrumental in helping us to prepare documentation to secure funding.””

—Ann Libecap, Associate Dean, Planning and Facilities


Collaborating with the College of Medicine revealed a desire to capture and preserve the neoclassical beauty of the 1911 Phoenix Union High School, which the institution intended to house an expansion for its cutting-edge programs. SmithGroupJJR began to plan a solution that would address multiple challenges. To begin, the original wood structure had to be removed, and new core structures attached to increase floor space.

The design team led a structural stabilization of the historic building, preserving the historic auditorium to use as a conference center – with restored original details, plaster ornament, and wood flooring and stairs. The project also added operable wood windows identical to the originals, but with insulated glazing.

Now, within the landmark façades reside state-of-the-art telehealth technologies that are in no way historic, including advanced data technology and surgery simulation suites supported by real-time video on plasma screens. Yet by adapting and reusing this extraordinary structure, stakeholders saved a rare example of Phoenix architecture while reducing the need for additional building materials.

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