Manzanita Hall

Tempe, Arizona / United States of America

The transformative renovation of the 15-story Arizona State University Manzanita Hall turned an iconic but functionally and technically obsolescent dormitory into a modern student residence, proving that renovation can be a viable option for universities with aging housing stock. With its curved façade and unique, triangular precast structure, Manzanita was an instant landmark on the Tempe campus when constructed in 1967. Yet after housing more than 40,000 students over 40 years, the building was in poor physical condition and no longer served student needs. A feasibility study confirmed that Manzanita needed a radical renovation.

The design team maintained the building’s signature elements while updating systems to meet new student housing standards. Working within the constraints of the existing structure, floor plans were reconfigured and organized along nested hierarchies of home, street, neighborhood, and village. Two-story communal lounges and kitchens were created in new “found space,” improving physical and social connectivity throughout the building. A key decision in the renovation was to replace exterior walls with a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall set behind the pre-cast triangular frame, enhancing the visual impact of the frame, improving thermal performance, and augmenting the self-shading qualities of the original design. Manzanita is tracking LEED Silver.

Architect of Record

Studio MA

Associate Architect

Solomon Cordwell Buenz


Arizona State University

General Contractor

Hardison/Downey Construction, Inc.


  • Sixthriver Architects
  • GLHN Architects & Engineers, Inc.
  • PK Associates LLC