Located on a gateway site on the University of Colorado Denver downtown campus, the new College of Engineering, Design and Computing furthers CU Denver’s trajectory as a premiere education destination for invention, innovation, and industry partnerships, while refreshing the College’s identity.
The Phase I 60,000 SF building will unite disciplines and establish a strong presence along a much-traveled urban corridor, better connecting the campus with downtown Denver. An additional 135,000 SF of program area will be added with two wings in subsequent phases to unify the College of Engineering within one facility on campus, and will include a central atrium to foster social interaction and to put science on display. The new building will serve as a best-in-class scientific learning environment for students, faculty and staff, patients, research participants and community members, by providing a space for hands-on learning and making, applied research and experimentation.
Famous for its rugged geography, the surrounding Colorado landscape informs the building’s geode-inspired exterior. The crystalline façade articulated with angular incisions creates moments of transparency between interior and exterior spaces. Exposing the activity within the building to the campus and to downtown, the design promotes greater connectivity through the display of student learning, collaboration, and multidisciplinary interaction, celebrating the act of making in the engineering environment. Passersby are drawn into the campus environment with visually inviting features like a two-story tall robotics lab and a central maker’s hub.
An intuitive framework for collaboration, which supports the notion that learning does not stop outside of the classroom, informs a design that includes a mix of both structured spaces and informal areas for interaction. A new flexible classroom, meeting and event space will open to a roof terrace for views of the downtown Denver skyline while also hosting classes, meetings, special functions and community building events. The building will also house the Assistive Technology Partners program in which engineering research groups interface with patients and research participants to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their highest potential using assistive technology.
The building’s strong architectural presence creates a dialogue with the campus and downtown, with lifted and cantilevering forms that embody engineering prowess and reveal, as if exposing a jewel in a geologic strata, the exciting new vision for the College of Engineering, Design and Computing.