Photos courtesy Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Students, staff members, and visitors at Arizona State University can’t walk through the Tempe campus without seeing the striking form of Tooker House, a 429-unit residence hall for freshman engineering students.

The exterior of the building is colored with indigenous sandstone and terra-cotta to blend with the desert surroundings, though the dramatic design of the building stands out—it features an expansive sandstone rain screen and an array of vertical, perforated louvers that continually move and change in pattern throughout the day in response to the desert sun.

Located in a central area between the main campus and two sports stadiums—and on the campus’s historic Palm Walk and in front of the “Beach,” one of the campus’s main green areas—the building was designed so that pedestrians and game-day crowds would be able to walk through easily. The structure is arranged in “four interconnected wings” that form a figure eight and is raised from the ground to create a breezeway. The building’s hollowed-out center provides a walkway and self-shading, open space for students to gather out of the sun and offers access to the hall’s ground-floor amenities.

Tooker House houses a 27,000-square-foot, 545-seat dining hall with four food venues and indoor and outdoor seating. A second-floor mezzanine offers additional seating for dining and lounge areas for studying, plus a video projection wall for presentations and screenings. The building also features a fitness center, a convenience store, and two study and social lounges on each floor.

The residence hall is reserved for first-year engineering students of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, which have more than 21,000 enrollees. The building features an on-site classroom and large maker lab with resources for studying and working on class projects or experiments. The students have no shortage of educational opportunities—the building itself, in fact, serves as a learning lab of sorts and as a teaching tool. The design has minimal finishes and leaves materials exposed to showcase intricate layers of infrastructure, such as plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and data pathways to the engineering-focused residents. The building’s mechanical room is visible through a glass enclosure, with systems colored and labeled by function.

Tooker House has also achieved LEED Gold certification. The form of the building provides self-shading to keep it cool in the hot climate, and the open spaces facilitate wind movement and natural cooling. Rainwater is harvested on the roof.

As an added perk, each resident receives an Amazon Echo and can use the building’s app to learn about activities and programming taking place in the community.