USDA Forest Service | Hudson-Meng Bonebed Research Visitor Center

  • $1.3M
  • 7,000 SF
  • 1998
  • LEED Silver


  • 1999 Honor Award
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Colorado Chapter
  • 1999 Honor Award
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Denver Chapter
  • 1999 Honor Award
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Western Mountain Region

Out on the Great American Plains, where bison once roamed in vast numbers, archeologists now dig. The Oglala National Grasslands in northwestern Nebraska has yielded the largest bonebed of an extinct ancient Plains Bison species, and researchers with the U.S. Forest Service have flocked to the site to unearth the bison remains, along with antiquated stone tools and projectiles. The construction of Hudson-Meng dramatically altered the timetable of the research project by providing year-round access to the bonebed.

The structure was sited to minimize disruption to the bonebed area and to take advantage of an existing pond. The cottonwoods established a natural “place” within the rolling hills. The trees and hills screen the parking. Visitors leave their cars and move toward the pond along the edge of the trees. A bridge serves as a natural threshold and marks the arrival to the visitor center.

Bowstring trusses span the bonebed floor, hovering over the exterior wall panels which are sheathed in galvanized corrugated steel, providing a subtle connection to the surrounding architecture and a figural complement to the gentle rolling landscape. Natural daylight is provided into the research facility through transparent wall panels. Coiling overhead doors open to capture natural ventilation. Metal cisterns collect rainwater that is then utilized by researchers in cleaning bone specimens. Catwalks along the periphery and a mobile bridge that traverses the floor provide access to the bonebed.

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3198 Speer Boulevard
Denver Colorado 80211

303 294 9448
fax 303 294 0762

About AMD

We are a 50-person architectural firm located in Denver, Colorado. For over 40 years we have provided a full range of services including the planning, programming, and design of buildings for colleges, universities, schools, libraries, justice facilities, office buildings, cultural venues, and housing. We have twice been awarded the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award “a distinguished body of work” and numerous local, regional and national design awards.

We believe architecture has the power to heighten human well-being and illuminate our cultural values. We are driven by a standard of excellence which provides the highest level of ethics and professionalism to our clients. We embrace thoughtful and responsible design in all aspects of our lives and we constantly strive to create buildings of architectural significance and responsibility.

Our work is developed within a collaborative atmosphere which cultivates research, analysis, and deliberation into judicious decision-making at all levels. Vigorous exploration of client goals is coupled with a detailed examination of their functional needs. This understanding is artfully transformed into three-dimensional space which inspires the daily life within the building. Physical patterns and the cultural fabric of each place are carefully studied to appropriately respond to each site’s unique physical and social context. Materials and systems are selected which respect and sustain our planet and the thoughtful expression of building craft and technology are economically integrated to bring the defining statement of character and identity for each of our clients.

AMD Staff
  • Paul S. Haack, AIA
  • Andrew G. Nielsen, FAIA
  • David C. Pfeifer, AIA
  • Joey Carrasquillo, AIA
  • John D. Graham, AIA
  • Ronald L. Mason, FAIA
  • John D. Anderson, FAIA
  • Curt F. Dale, FAIA
  • Cathy Bellem, AIA
  • Ben Blanchard, AIA
  • John Everin, AIA
  • Erin Hillhouse, AIA
  • David E. Houston, AIA
  • Suzanne Dupée Minear, AIA
  • Kristin O’Connell, Assoc AIA
  • Cynthia Ottenbrite, AIA
  • James R. Taylor, AIA
  • Dan Bishop, AIA
  • Stephan Hall, AIA
  • Peter Koehler, AIA
  • Ryan Lutz, AIA
  • Jenna Michieli, AIA
  • Michael Stesney, AIA
  • Todd Swarts, AIA
  • Kristina Winn, AIA
  • Julie Zurakowski, AIA