Photo of Mirabella ASU
Photo of Mirabella ASU
Photo of Mirabella ASU
Photo of Mirabella ASU
Photo of Mirabella ASU
Photo of Mirabella ASU

Mirabella ASU

University Living for Seniors

After decades away, the senior-citizen alumni of Arizona State University are returning to live and learn on campus again. Mirabella ASU, the “largest dormitory on campus,” will be their home. Part condo, part luxury hotel, this 20-story high-rise is the first of its kind in the world. Seniors won’t just live on campus; they’ll be part of it. Lifelong learning and intergenerational connection are the forces driving this new Mirabella senior living community. Residents will attend classes across campus, and within the high-rise, share a library and art school with ASU students. And with memory care, skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living all under one roof, they’ll have the care they need at every stage of life. This unprecedented design was challenging, especially given the project’s extreme location in the Sonoran Desert and its highly complex programming. But with our integrated experience in Senior Living, Hospitality, Higher Education, and climate-responsive design, we joined Pacific Retirement Services to create a place that every senior will be proud (and comfortable) to call home.

Tempe, National
  • 307 units
  • 20 stories
  • 613,992 sq. ft.

Senior Communities


Architecture , Interiors


Not for Profit


Architecture: Jeff WIlder

Interiors: Darla Esnard

Architecture Story

Vitality By Design

Mirabella at Arizona State University was our opportunity to push the boundaries of high-rise design at the intersection of Senior Living, Hospitality, high-end Market Rate Housing, and higher education. Our design unifies the ASU community with Mirabella residents in a 20-story tower at the heart of the thriving campus. It’s the first step in a new, inclusive model of education: providing learning opportunities and intergenerational connection for people at every stage of their lives. Many people move to Arizona for the sun, but without shade, the summer weather takes a toll on human health. With its main tower oriented on an east-west axis, Mirabella ASU is designed to protect people from the arid environment of the Sonoran Desert by creating maximum shade. Inspired by the natural rock formations of the desert, deep overhangs also provide passively cooled retreats from the intense Arizona heat. The tower visually connects residents to the ASU campus and downtown Tempe with a massing that “steps” clockwise to create a series of terraced courtyards. From across campus, the tower will be recognized for its unmistakable desert-inspired character. Like the layered texture of sandstone, the building’s podium of light masonry transitions to variegated metal paneling in a rich, terracotta hue. Each element works together to root the high-rise to the region and give it distinct personality. The layers of metal paneling provide more than interesting depth and texture to the façade, they’re also serve the building functionally. Gray anodized metal panels near windows and balconies provide valuable shade to keep spaces within the building cool. A perforated copper screen is an elegant solution to shade the auditorium, and it discreetly hides a loading area and electrical units.


Interior Story

Elegant Innovations

As our third Mirabella design for Pacific Retirement Services, Mirabella ASU became a rare opportunity for us to build upon the strength of our partnership and use post-occupancy insights from the existing communities to refine our design and programming placement to the finest detail. From soundproofing techniques to the ergonomics of unit kitchens, innovative and elegant solutions combine to set a new high bar for the senior living industry. Inspired by the rock formations around Tempe, stone and earthy metal finishes are sculptural recollections the color and texture of the surrounding desert landscape. Throughout the tower, we subtly and elegantly tell the story of Arizona State University, imbuing its legacy into the amenity spaces. Lighting elements and flooring patterns recall the sun graphic of the iconic ASU logo. For seniors who have a passion for learning, the library is the place of discover the names of fellow alumni who became authors. The game room will feature those who made their mark on one of the university’s athletic teams. Residents and their guests can walk through the communal spaces of the tower and along the way, connect with the innovations, historical moments, and memories that make Arizona State University like no other school in the country. When creating the unit design, we applied insights from the existing Mirabella communities to pinpoint the features that matter most to residents and perform best over time. We used high-quality materials like quartz and porcelain in the design for Tempe, because they’re loved aesthetically by PRS residents, require the least maintenance, and simply last longer. The same insights drove our selection of top-quality carpet and hardwood floors, personalized lighting controls, soundproofing features, and alcoves in the apartment units with personalized built-in storage and display areas. Sustainable features integrate seamlessly with the interior design, including energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and insulated windows. Big windows in the living, dining, and bedrooms provide expansive views and daylight. Circadian lighting on the memory care, skilled nursing, assisted living floors will provide lighting that follows the natural sleep/wake cycles of each resident. In addition to the apartments, the building includes four hospitality-style dining venues, two kitchens, a fitness area, a pool, an auditorium, an expansive library, crafting and gaming areas, and a physical therapy space. To create genuine connections between Mirabella residents and current ASU students, shared amenities are centered around common interests, like a student art gallery, woodshop, a beauty salon, and a bistro.




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