Rob Paulus Architects was hired by the University of Arizona Planning Design and Construction through a competitive selection process to produce a schematic design and marketing material for fund raising efforts for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. The new AzCIM facility will pull from the healing powers of nature, incorporating vegetation and shading with sustainable building technologies to create unique and high quality indoor and outdoor environments that clearly exhibit the values of the AzCIM.
The design is conceived as a solid mass with a canyon cut through the center that supports a densely vegetated microclimate within. Analogous to the adaptations of desert flora, the project will incorporate an energy-efficient outer skin, and various shading elements to passively temper the desert climate. Slit windows on the east and west faces become wider glazed openings on the north and south to carefully open to natural light and views. Like the historic desert courtyards of the region, an outer shell protects a more lush interior, where human activity proceeds within a secure, comfortable enclosure.
The AzCIM facility is a nurturing armature for all of its living inhabitants, developing a mutual relationship where the building provides surfaces and spaces where plants will grow, which in turn will provide protection for the building and healing comfort for its human inhabitants. The facility defines comfortable, meditative environments, where nature is a central part of everyday functions, as a means to foster the wellbeing of body, mind, and spirit.