Academic Office West Building
A higher education office building that anchors a research quadrant on the University of Colorado’s medical and health sciences education campus.
2008 Merit Award, American Institute of Architects, Colorado Chapter
University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus
Academic Office 1 is an 8-story office building that represents a new archetype for the health sciences in the 21st century. The building’s organization and design responds to the shifting paradigm of health science education, in which formerly isolated departments co-locate and share office and amenity spaces, in support of capitalizing on interdisciplinary collaboration. The program plan and resulting building balances two key priorities for the Anschutz Medical Campus stakeholders: maximize office space while creating ample opportunities for interdisciplinary interaction that support the Campus’s vision as a progressive, leading-edge center for research, teaching, and patient care.
The building achieves this by flanking office spaces with two-story, primary circulation spines along the Eastern edge of the building, parallel to the Research Quadrangle. Secondary circulation “fingers” extend from the spine to a mix of open and enclosed offices. The result is a logical progression of public spaces that decrease in scale as they increase in privacy. The offset circulation of the spine creates an important physical connection between adjacent floors, supporting a broader sense of connectivity and collaboration.
Informal gathering spaces and formal conference rooms are arrayed along the spine, transforming space that would traditionally be the domain of private offices into active community space. The glass curtain wall invites natural light to penetrate the office spaces organized along circulation fingers. Glazing at the ends of all circulation spaces acknowledges the daily movement of typically itinerant faculty who regularly make their way to clinical and research settings elsewhere on campus. Vertical movement is externalized in a tower form, anchoring the building to the quadrangle, its glassy stair inviting users to pause momentarily to affirm their connection to the outdoors and to the collaborative environment within.
The building’s organization and design responds to the shifting paradigm of health science education, in which formerly isolated departments co-locate and share office and amenity spaces, with hopes of capitalizing on interdisciplinary collaboration.