Mesa Community College


Physical Science Building

Mesa, Arizona

62,500 GSF, 5,574 M2

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Lab Planning, Landscape Architecture

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Gold

Citation Award, Excellence in Masonry Design, Distinguished Building Award, First Place -- Category II -- Institutional Buildings (New), Technology Awards

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“[SmithGroupJJR has] worked very hard to ensure that our project reflects our needs and priorities. They have demonstrated time and again a willingness to be flexible throughout the process.”

—Mike Sims, Chair, Physical Science Department


Hardly a cliché at this college, the idea of a “living laboratory” takes on real meaning and teaching function when deliberate ideas in architecture and engineering are integrated with educational mission. That was the design parti pris for SmithGroupJJR for this high-tech-looking science building that sits lightly on its fragile desert site.

The result breaks ground in its typology, as noted by educators and experts: Highly energy-efficient and sustainable, the facility invites students to an interactive kiosk where they can track the energy harvested by its solar panels and study its sophisticated mechanical systems. Readouts on water use and power loads speak to the efficient, integrated design. A planetarium is powered by the photovoltaic arrays, and a rooftop observation deck is tailored for telescope sky watching.

Formal education occurs in advanced classrooms and labs for astronomy, chemistry, engineering, geology and physics. The college desired an intellectually engaging environment, and the spaces are laid out to foment student-faculty collaboration and innovative teaching in formal, informal and impromptu settings.

Related Content

MCC Physical Sciences on YouTube
Mesa Community Colleges Physical Science Building LEED Certification.

Mesa Community College
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