This evening, ASU opens its newest venture in downtown Phoenix, the $129 million Center for Law and Society.
The new six-story building will house multiple uses, including the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, which has moved to Phoenix from the Tempe campus.
I went on a preview tour last week, and the building is impressive in many ways. Here is the Arizona Republic’s article on the building.
At the preview, architect Tomas Rossant of Ennead Architects described the “thesis of the building” as connecting the citizens of Arizona to the law. He said the structure, sited in the block southeast of the corner of First Street and Taylor, will be a focal point for the downtown campus.
Rossant said the goal was to make the building “completely open, free, and democratic. This will be the most publicly accessible law school in the nation.”
“We want this place to supplement City Hall as the location people come to gather, redress grievances, and engage as citizens.”
Through the architecture and its accessibility, Rossant said, we are “trying to tell the public that the law belongs to you.”
At the tour, ASU’s Thomas Williams, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and the institution, said, “We will never have more marble than Yale or more Ivy than Harvard. But that’s not who we are. We’re looking to the future, and we’re ready to experience new things, and pivot and try again when we have to.”
One of the driving forces of the new building will be to connect people through technology. In fact, the building has a dedicated app created by the company Unified Field. When in operation and once a user downloads it, it communicates your location to the building, and multiple screens scattered throughout the structure offer you customized information to assist your visit. The app will be available through all the usual online stores.
The app was not live at the media tour, but it is this morning, so I’ve downloaded it. I look forward to seeing how it works. In the meantime, here are a few app screenshots (click images to enlarge).
After the media tour, I dropped by the law school’s teaching law firm, the ASU Alumni Law Group. Managing partner Marty Harper showed me around. The two-story firm includes spaces for its attorneys, staff, and an area dedicated to triaging potential clients’ legal matters.
Be sure to see the university’s new website dedicated to the building.
A few of us on the magazine staff will be attending the grand opening tonight. We’ll report back, in Arizona Attorney Magazine and online.Follow @azatty