Realising Arizona State’s ‘vision’ for a collaborative learning space

SOURCE: CO Architects
Arizona State University’s Health Futures Center is the latest project in the Arizona State University (ASU) and Mayo Clinic partnership.

By U2B Staff 

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The design concept of open learning environments has been catching on in education circles in recent years. The idea aims to remove barriers between students, faculty and disciplines, and harbour a more collaborative workspace.

The latest project in the Arizona State University (ASU) and Mayo Clinic partnership is embracing this design theory in its provision of a brand new collaborative facility for students, entrepreneurs and biomedical professionals.

The Health Futures Centre, a new US$80 million project that broke ground in April, uses this popular design concept in its aim to be a connecting place for interdisciplinary innovation, research, and medical simulation.

Rendering of Arizona State University’s Health Futures Center.

CO Architects, the firm behind the model, call it a design that expands the amount of interdepartmental shared space to encourage a collaborative and creative environment.

“Our goal with ASU’s Health Futures Centre is to create opportunities that maximise interdisciplinary collaboration and research in partnership with Mayo Clinic Phoenix, to help meet the mission of improving health outcomes,” AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal at CO Architects, Jennifer Knudsen, told Building Design & Construction.

“Our team designed the building to support a range of evolving interdepartmental research activities, industry partnerships, and teaching models through flexible, innovation-ready spaces.”

They are working alongside Phoenix-based DFDG Architecture as executive architect, while DPR Construction is the construction manager for the project.


The 150,000 sq foot building will feature a MedTech Accelerator, biomedical engineering and informatics research labs, nursing programmes and an innovative education zone. The facility will combine the Mayo Clinic’s expertise in complex patient care, medical health solutions and research with ASU’s robust engineering, informatics, and health solutions.

The new facility, scheduled to open in late 2020, will be owned and operated by the university and will connect to Mayo Clinic – located nearby – via a desert pathway.

According to ASU News, it is the first of several buildings planned on the Phoenix campus in the coming years. The development is not only a cooperative effort not only of Mayo Clinic and ASU, but also city and state departments. While ASU leases the property from the Arizona State Land Trust, the city of Phoenix will provide funding for infrastructure improvements.

Open learning space in the planned Arizona State University’s Health Futures Center.

ASU and Mayo Clinic have had a longstanding 16-year partnership, but it was only formalised in 2016 with the announcement of the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care. The goal of the alliance is to innovate health care delivery to improve patient care, accelerate cutting-edge research discoveries, and transform medical education.

Over the years, the pair have partnered on a broad range of programmes, including nursing, medical imaging, regenerative and rehabilitative medicine, and wearable biosensors.

“Mayo Clinic and ASU share a vision,” President and CEO of Mayo Clinic Gianrico Farrugia said in a statement.

“It’s a vision to create a collaborative environment of expertise right here in the Valley. And this place will be a destination for students, for entrepreneurs, for biomedical professionals. They will come to us from everywhere in the region and, indeed, from around the world. This will be a hub of life science innovation that will not only benefit ASU students and researchers but truly the patients of the future.”