The Student Success District at the University of Arizona is a ground-breaking addition to the University’s urban fabric. Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership in association with Local Architect Poster Mirto McDonald, the complex project redefines and revitalizes the Main Library and the Bear Down Gymnasium, reorients the entry to the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library, and merges them with a new 55,000 SF Center for Academic Success. The design strengthens connections between new and existing structures, activates underutilized spaces both indoors and out, and provides moments for student engagement.
In renovating the three existing buildings, Miller Hull developed a concept based on creating connections, increasing porosity, and embracing diverse, flexible, and technology-rich spaces. In this spirit, the design team introduced both indoor and outdoor study areas in a student-centric, unifying character. The District provides room for tutoring, active learning, hands-on fabrication and research, and a holistic health and fitness area.
Miller Hull identified design and construction solutions to optimize the broad and varied program within the available physical and fiscal resources. The co-location of student support services provides convenient career counseling and guidance, financial skill-building, and mental health resources. This central location allows full-spectrum support for all students when and where they are most able to be accessed—while on campus between classes.
Throughout the District, Miller Hull designed large, flexible meeting rooms and classrooms to accommodate different teaching styles and future needs, strategically placed to allow multiple departments to maximize their use. Enhanced access to hands-on learning, deep technological engagement, and collaborative spaces supports academic excellence among students. By bringing together programs into a centralized location, the design clarifies the range of available student services and strengthens the synergies between them.
Large active lounges, multi-media areas, maker spaces, and a diverse range of study rooms encourage students to become fluent in a variety of technology. As learning increasingly moves outside of the traditional classroom, the design team took advantage of informal areas and circulation eddies for student study, interaction, and collaboration. Comfortable study and social gathering spaces are strengthened with sun shading and access to Wi-Fi and power.
Establishing new connections on an existing campus can be challenging. Spanning 95 years of history, the Main Library, the Science-Engineering Library, and the Bear Down Gymnasium each had differing uses, architectural styles, grade connections, and floor-to-floor heights. To unify the District, Miller Hull’s design solution centered on student circulation and landscape treatments, creating occupiable space between buildings and continuity at building entries. Miller Hull designed thin steel plate portals to “slice” through the facades and establish a consistent language at all new entries. These connections and the consistent development of spaces between structures became a common thread, stitching the district together and unifying the student experience.
The Student Success District strengthens connections and increases engagement for students at the University of Arizona. The holistic approach and flexible design will allow for shifts in trends and functionality, benefiting students for years to come.
Architect & Interior Design: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP and Poster Mirto McDonald
Design-Build Contractor: Sundt Construction
Civil Engineer: Cypress Civil Development
Structural Engineer: Martin White Griffis
Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineer: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
Acoustical Consultant: Robert F. Mahoney & Associates
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment: Andie Zelnio
Photographer: Chipper Hatter
Sound Absorptive wall and ceiling panels: Autex
Glass markerboards: Clarus
Tile: Mosa and Daltile
Furniture: Herman Miller, Knoll, Steelcase
meet the team
We’re inspired by diverse design perspectives, innovation, technology, art, and the world around us. We live for the chance to create and disperse powerful, genuine messages that resonate.
Growing up in Seattle, Amy was always exploring the great outdoors but she found a particular thrill in traveling. During a visit to New York City at age 10, she knew that was where she wanted to live. After high school she left her home in the Pacific Northwest behind for the great unknown to attend Fordham University in the Bronx. Upon graduation, Amy received a phone call from CNN offering a job opportunity of a lifetime working in television ad sales at Manhattan's Time Warner Center. When a job opportunity in Los Angeles opened up a few years later, Amy couldn't say no to a new adventure back on the west coast. But Seattle eventually called her back home and Amy returned to pursue a Master's degree in Business Administration with the hopes of learning the skills she needed to feed her entrepreneurial spirit. Before graduating, Amy co-founded Paxson Fay with Tessa Andrews in 2015. Amy focuses on marketing strategy, public relations, social media, and partnerships.
Tessa graduated from Fordham University in New York with a dual bachelor's degree in Communications and Political Science. During her time at Fordham, she worked for an interior designer and at NBC News where she developed her love for both design and communications. After graduating, Tessa managed marketing at 3form, a pioneer in the sustainable building products industry. During her tenure, 3form was repeatedly named one of the most recognized manufacturers in the design industry among architects and designers, and the company won multiple awards for its innovative product launches. After 3form, Tessa consulted on marketing efforts with leading product manufacturers in architecture and design before starting Paxson Fay with Amy.
After graduating from Fordham University in New York City with a major in Communications and Media Studies and a handful of marketing and PR internships, Colby moved to Boston to manage marketing for a small, women-owned, creative consulting agency. While in that role, Colby managed public relations and marketing efforts for some of Boston's most prominent events and public art initiatives, including the Boston Pickle Fair and The Bulfinch Crossing Projections in downtown Boston. Colby gained experience crafting brand stories and identities through social media marketing and creative copywriting, seen through the successful launch of a premier Massachusetts adult-use dispensary and the revamp of her agency's own website. After two years, Colby decided it was time to figure out what the West Coast was all about. Looking to blend her marketing experience with her passion for design and architecture, Colby found Paxson Fay, where she focuses on social media strategy and management and public relations.
Originally from Spokane, Washington, Stasha relocated to Seattle after completing her studies in communications at Eastern Washington University. Over the past seven years, she has held various communication roles at Amazon, specializing in crisis communication and brand reputation. In June of 2023, Stasha joined Paxson Fay as a Communications Specialist, providing her with the opportunity to blend her communications expertise with her passion for design. Stasha focuses on PR efforts for a variety of clients at Paxson Fay.
From San Francisco, California, Zoe moved to Seattle, Washington to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. She graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. Shortly after graduation from UW, Zoe hopped across the pond to pursue her Master of Science in Urban Economics and Real Estate Finance at the London School of Economics. Focusing on Sustainable Development, she found herself drawn to adaptive reuse and preservation projects in the world of architecture and design. Building on prior marketing and social media experience, Zoe returned to the PNW in July of 2023 to work on social media strategy and content creation for clients at Paxson Fay.
Martina joined the Paxson Fay team as an intern when she was a senior at the University of Washington. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Interest Communications, Martina is now continuing with the team as a Communications Assistant. During her time at UW, Martina worked as the Special Sections Editor at the university’s newspapers where she won multiple awards for her front page spreads. Looking to blend her minors in real estate and environmental science with her focus in communications, Martina is passionate and excited to join the Paxson Fay team.
We are looking for a star communications specialist to join our team, leading creative brands in their communications efforts across platforms. Click here to read more.
what we do
We are a communications firm founded in our passion for good design. Our unique approach to marketing and public relations in the architecture and design community has elevated our clients work to the next level. We’re backed by a talented community of creatives. From copywriters to social media experts, we provide a complete package of customized services. We strive to create a personal experience with each client, integrating teams and tackling your biggest marketing and public relations challenges from a high level. Then we help execute those plans ensuring lots of reporting along the way, with lots of coffee breaks in between because we’re from Seattle and that’s what we do.
partnerships acquisition and management
media communications and outreach
awards: strategy, content development and submissions
platform strategy and management
results + reporting
budget strategy + negotiation
website and e-mail marketing
video: sourcing, storyboarding and scheduling
photography acquisition + curation
sponsorships + partnerships
Here is a little taste of who we love to work with and what we love to do.