Miller Hull

Student Success District receives a 2023 AIA/ALA Library Building Award

4-25-2023 | News

Student Success District, University of Arizona

Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership LLP and Poster Mirto McDonald

Owner: University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, Ariz.

This project, on University of Arizona’s Tucson campus, unites the school’s essential yet siloed student support services. While comprehensive in nature, involving campus planning, exterior site improvements, and architectural interventions, the project is rooted in the transformation and connection of interior spaces to offer students elevated experiences.

The university’s research showed that student retention and graduation rates were much higher among those who participated in student support services compared to their peers. Many student support programs were quite successful, with 9,500 advising appointments, 2.3 million library visits, and 20,000 counseling and psychological services appointments in 2019 alone. Unfortunately, the majority of services were situated in unwelcoming and far-flung spaces on campus, rendering them invisible to many students.

The project hinged on revitalizing three existing buildings and constructing a new one to centralize all services along the campus’ main mall. Constructed in the 1960s and ’70s, the university’s two libraries suffered from pancake floor plans and no little to no access to daylight. Between them sits Bear Down Gymnasium, a landmark structure that was once the campus fitness hub but had been relegated to a cubicle farm supporting various student service programs. All three buildings were disconnected from each other and hamstrung by band-aid solutions to the interiors that created isolated, and in some cases, inhumane experiences.

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