University of Colorado Boulder | Benson Earth Sciences Building

  • $11.9M
  • 85,000 SF
  • 1997


  • 1999 Citation Award
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Denver Chapter

Home of the University of Colorado’s renowned Geology Department and its state-of-the-art Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences Library, Benson marks the northern edge of a new quadrangle for the Boulder campus.

The Geology department sought a world class facility that would house the varied components of this diverse program (wet and dry laboratories/classrooms, lecture spaces, auditorium, faculty/student offices and group workspaces, library) and serve as a signature, or icon, for the geology department.

The site really governs this project: the building directly addresses a new, large quadrangle to the south and a major thoroughfare to the north. Also, the views from this site are perhaps the site’s greatest asset. The building’s basic organization is into quadrants that relate to programmed areas (classroom/labs, faculty offices/workspace and library, auditorium and large conference, and administration and lecture). These four areas are defined by the building’s circulation corridors; these places, which are often very utilitarian, are celebrated as gathering places and provide wonderful, light-filled spaces in which informal interaction may occur.

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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