Rich, distinctive design delayed hall's hallmark

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Some UA students will soon be living in a "work of art."

At least that is how James Van Arsdel, Residence Life director, describes the new residence hall going up on campus. La Paz Residence Hall is being built between Apache-Santa Cruz and Graham-Greenlee, on North Highland Avenue and East Sixth Street.

Construction on the project has been slowed for reasons that have not been pinpointed, but it has do with "the architectural richness" of the building, Van Arsdel said. He said there is "an incredible amount of detail" in the structure, which has required a great deal of time and planning.

"It's not a cookie cutter-type building, like the other residence halls on campus," Van Arsdel said. "Something you discover in building one part (of the structure) may not apply to another."

The $15.1 million hall is slated to be open in the fall. In an earlier interview with the Wildcat, Van Arsdel said that, with six months left to complete the project, it is still too early to say whether the building will completed in time.

By closing down a portion of Highland Avenue, the workers have more

space and have been able to work more expediently, Van Arsdel said.

The front portion of the three-story building, where the common area is located, is the portion most likely to be finished late, but a delay should not affect the students greatly, he said. La Paz will house 482 students and will have a variety of double occupancy rooms, suite-style quartets that share a bathroom and over 20 single rooms.

The residents' rooms are comparable in size to those at Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall.

Concepts behind the design of the hall were derived from North African and Middle Eastern architecture architecture historically built around a courtyard.

California architects Elizabeth Moule and Stefanos Polyzoides were chosen to design the hall because of their background in this type of architecture. Moule is the principal architect in the project.

Al Schroder, general superintendent of Diversified Construction, said the building has been difficult to construct because of its complexity and "no one thing" has slowed it down. The weather should not pose a problem toward completion of the project once the roof is installed, he said.

The architecture of the building will create continual interplay of the interior and exterior, Van Arsdel said. The building will feature open-air corridors, a study "bridge" and study areas with lofts and skylights, two large courtyards, outdoor terraces, gardens and an architectural arcade of arches on the outside of the building.

"The climate here is wonderful to have that opportunity (to combine the inside with the outside) ... and it cuts down on the cost of heating and cooling," Van Arsdel said. He added that overall, the hall will be full of design interest and the various areas were designed to provide space for small groups of students.

Prospective resident Tom Pageler, a media arts freshman, said the hall "looks nice" and he likes the openness of the design. "Most other dorms are a square. This one is different. It is not so compact."

Pageler said he likes the location and said it is nice because it is a "big" hall that does not appear that large.

The hall will have a distinct front door and entry area, uncommon in other, newer halls on campus. A faculty fellow office and formal entry rooms will be located in the front of the building. The courtyard in front will also feature a double hearth fireplace and a cooling tower.

In addition to these features there will be a music room, complete with a baby grand piano and a mirror and barre, a computer lab, two game rooms, television lounge areas and two small kitchens.

"It's like a fun piece of art the more you look at it the more you're invited to look more," Van Arsdel said.

"It doesn't begin to compare with other halls on campus," he said.

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