Previously situated on CU Boulder’s main campus, the AES building was relocated to the adjacent research campus with excellent views of the area’s iconic Flatiron Mountains. This afforded an opportunity to make a statement on the research campus, to respect and embrace the natural environment, and to create a visual connection between the two campuses.
We oriented the site around the arrival sequence, developing a sense of air movement and propulsion. Undulating plant material, the lines on the ground leading to the front doors, the pleated façade, even the vertically hung ceiling tiles arranged as if by air currents, allude to aerospace principles. The building also meets vigorous sustainability and building performance requirements. Material choices and scale are sophisticated and subtle, not obvious. Interior layouts maximize daylight for all spaces, inviting students and researchers to collaborate and socialize.
The Smead AES building fits in the context of the Front Range and the stylistic language of the historic CU Boulder campus while simultaneously making a singular statement. From advanced maker shops to contemplative spaces, ingenuity is producing significant results. Ultimately, it embodies diversity, innovation, and the dynamics of flight.