Two of Arizona’s leaders faced daunting challenges. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon led the United States’ sixth largest city – but it was not growing an empowered downtown at a time when city cores defined America’s most desirable locations. Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow, leader of the largest single university campus in America, needed an iconic presence that would draw the best and brightest professors and students in journalism. Both needed a catalyst project to anchor a master plan, and for various reasons both needed it yesterday. The new Cronkite School of Journalism was the solution for both challenges.
Instead of needing the standard three years or more for a design-bid-build project of this size and complexity, the city and ASU chose a design-build delivery process. The Sundt team went from a vision on a blank page to the school holding its first journalism class just 22 months later, a “flash” track delivery. Since Cronkite was to anchor Phoenix’s downtown revitalization program, the project’s vision explicitly stated the importance of sustainability, research and impact on the social, environmental and economic evolution of the Southwest.
An iconic gateway is not the result of one breakthrough. It is the summation of the power of an integrated team. The real driver of Cronkite’s speed and community impact was the marriage of an Integrated Project Delivery model with parametric estimating, Building Information Modeling and true, full co-location. This combination yielded so many points of innovation that the seemingly impossible 22-month design and construction schedule was achieved.
In erecting the Walter Cronkite project, we anchored the vision that has taken the city and the university beyond their prior limits.
Arizona State University
Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication