Old Main was the first building to be erected at the University of Arizona and now stands as the University’s iconic building situated at the heart of the campus defining the axial planning for the remainder of the campus. Originally constructed in 1889, Old Main has served many purposes over the course of the past century.
The project required complete renovation of the first floor to accommodate new programmatic elements and building system improvements. In the design and construction process, the building’s original character, hidden behind layers of renovations, was revealed and brought back to life. Careful attention was made to material finishes and for the layout of spaces that respect the strict symmetry of the original design while providing a modern facility for the Office of Admissions’ purpose of student recruitment and orientation.
Exterior renovation includes a new entrance plaza and ramps that provide, for the first time, meaningful “front door” access to the first floor. On axis with the campus mall, the dual ramp scheme maintains the inherent symmetry of the original structure while opening up views to the first floor entrance hidden behind the grand exterior staircase to the upper level. To maintain the emphasis on this grand staircase, the space between the dual ramps creates a plaza platform to land the grand staircase.