students and faculty, but also among the
community at large.
The state-of-the-art facility was de-
signed with a north-south slice through
its social core to invite everyone into
the “heart of the institution.” Masuda
said, “This design allows the public to
easily notice the building’s three grand,
double-height rooms: the W.P. Carey
Foundation Armstrong Great Hall, the
Ross Blakely Law Library and the Fort
McDowell Yavapai Nation Rooftop
Open-air bridges connect the east
and west wings of the building and pro-
vide access to a suspended double-height
reading room at the north side and a
two-story think tank space at the south.
The centrally located Great Hall
serves as a communal gathering and
event space that is utilized by the university and the public for events ranging
from piano recitals to year-end galas.
“Having this space available to the public is in line with the mission of the building
and brings other voices into the building,” said Masuda. “It blurs the boundaries of
public and private.”
The assistant dean manages the Great Hall and vets parties interested in using the
space. Since the building opened in 2016, about one-third of the events that took place in
the Great Hall were held by third parties not affiliated with the university or law school.
Along with its prime downtown location and its open-to-all roots, the Great Hall
is also incredibly versatile. Its innovative retractable seating allows event planners to
configure the room into a distinct, informal, tiered lounge space or into a more traditional auditorium.
The Great Hall also has an expansive 20-foot-by-50-foot bi-folding glass door
that opens to the adjacent courtyard, establishing a clear gateway between the
school and public.
“The Great Hall clearly symbolizes the institution’s commitment to engaging the
public by offering downtown Phoenix a welcoming and open civic space where multiple communities are encouraged to converge, interact and learn,” said Masuda.
THE LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE
In designing the new building, the university was also able to rethink the design of
its law library to better reflect today’s digital age. Through this process, they opted to
establish the library as a centralized, open space that everyone in the building would
“The Ross Blakely Law Library is unique in that it has no walls, no boundaries