Honor - Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component

University of Arizona

Student Success District
University of Arizona - Student Success District
Jury Comments
“. . . seamless incorporation of existing and new . . . ambitious series of projects that takes a district approach with several renovations and a new build, including new landscape to tie it together . . .”


    • Site – 9 acres
    • The buildings’ interiors were mazes with no clear directions or organizational logic. Enhanced entries, a strong circulation path, and vivid colors at help desks and check-in points organize programmatic elements and establish clear way finding.
    • New landscape connections create an accessible path to the Main Library.
    • The project converts two floors in each library from spaces dense with shelving to student collaboration space.
    • The new Bartlett Academic Success Center bridges across to the revitalized Bear Down Gymnasium to create a centralized student service hub at the heart of campus.
    • The existing buildings’ facades were impenetrable solid walls. The design framed each entry with a large portal that created a gateway and window into the interior.


Across academic libraries, there is a growing trend: co-locating various kinds of student support units, such as writing programs and tutoring centers, in library buildings to provide a comprehensive student experience. The University of Arizona took this concept to a new level by creating the Student Success District—revitalizing three existing buildings, including two 1970s Brutalist libraries and a historic gymnasium, and constructing an entirely new building. This complex project transforms a disconnected cluster of buildings at the heart of campus into an interconnected and cohesive district that provides a centralized point of support for the entire student body. The district connects the Main Library, the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library, Bear Down Gymnasium, and the Bartlett Academic Success Center.

The three existing old buildings are from different eras. Along with humanizing them, the design creates cohesion resulting from the treatment of the surrounding spaces and landscape, the seamless interior/exterior passageway through each building, and the aesthetic consistencies of the interiors, with an emphasis on clear wayfinding and the use of vibrant color to promote a sense of belonging and equity.

The district includes a modernization of the Main Library, the Science-Engineering Library, and the Bear Down Gymnasium, in addition to the new Bartlett Student Success Center. Together, these constituent buildings take a dormant yet vital organ and transform it into a reinvigorated interconnected network. Beyond just the reimagination of physical space, this project is about challenging ideas and misconceptions. It disproves the notion that single-use spaces must remain single-use and refutes the archaic interpretation of what a library is and should be. Ultimately, it’s challenging assumptions about flexibility, adaptability, and the future of learning.

Project Team

The Miller Hull Partnership in collaboration with Poster Mirto Mirto McDonald; Contractor: Sundt Construction; Owner/Client: University of Arizona; Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects; Engineer Civil: Cypress Civil Development; Engineer Structural: Martin White Griffis Structural Engineers; Engineer Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.; Consultant Lighting: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.; Consultant Graphics and Wayfinding: Mayer Reed; Consultant Acoustics: Robert F. Mahoney & Associates; FFE Libraries: Miller Hull; FFE Bear Down & Bartlett Center for Academic Success: Andie Zelno; Photographers Chipper Hatter and Lara Swimme