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