Mountain Campus Research and Education Center Design Competition Entry

A research and education center that creates an immersive connection between landscape and purpose.


7,500 SF

Colorado State University

AMD Architects embarked on a design competition for an immersive research and education center located at Colorado State University’s (CSU) Mountain Campus. While we were not awarded the project, our team was inspired by the process and the project site within the majestic Pingree Park River valley, at the foot of Mummy Mountain. The design proposal put forth creates a beacon upon arrival to the Mountain Campus and connects visitors to the rugged, natural beauty of the panoramic mountainous river valley. The proposition explores innovative prefabrication and mass timber construction techniques while proposing a design vocabulary that creates a respectful, contemporary vision for future development.

The Research and Education Center Design was informed by several aspirations that served as guiding design principles. These principles included forging an interplay of building and landscape as the spirit of the building, celebrating the relevance of research and education at a high elevation, and deriving a functional and inspiring place to enable patrons to research, learn, and live with thought, reflection, and purpose.

The design aims to realize these goals by connecting building users with a visceral sense of place, experienced through multiple vantage points and experiences. The building is sited at the upper edge of a river embankment, enabling accessible routes from the lower and upper elevations of the site while creating an immersive experience within the landscape. The public zone embraces an axial orientation, reaching out towards the main road on campus to form an entry procession that transitions into a sheltered environment. An interpretive setting takes shape within this zone, showcasing artifacts of the site’s resources and research. Classrooms line the eastern edge of the structure’s upper level to forge a visual connection with the river through the veil of trees along the embankment. Regardless of your location in the building, the presence and reverence of nature is omnipresent.

The design aims to connect the building users with a visceral sense of place, experienced through multiple vantage points and experiences.

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