The University of Arizona, Student Union Memorial Center and Bookstore

Tucson, Arizona

  • FIRM

    MHTN Architects, Inc.


    The University of Arizona

  • AREA

    395,603 sq.ft.





The Student Union Memorial Center prominently anchors the main campus mall. It provides a focus for student activity in a design that contextually respects its campus neighbors. Each of the exterior facades responds to its immediate neighbors through materials, scale and rhythm.

Symbolically, the design references themes from the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$149.14FEATURED IN2005 Architectural Portfolio and from the desert Southwest. Although it never replicates nautical elements, the design refers to shapes of ship hulls, turrets, masts, sails, bridges and prows. In similar fashion, deeply shaded and tree-lined open air passages through the building combine with flowing water features to remind visitors of Southwest slot canyons.

Aligned with Mountain Avenue, the canyon feature provides the campus with a new north arrival zone, leading visitors through the union building into the heart of campus. Appropriate use of shading elements, low-e glazing, energy-management controls, daylighting, reclaimed water for irrigation and low-flow water fixtures help make this a sustainable design.