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Progress at CU Boulder’s Center for Academic Success + Engagement

by Josh Brandt

We are about halfway through the 14-month construction schedule for CU Boulder’s new Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE), and things are shaping up beautifully. The delivery method is design/build, and we are working with general contractor G.H. Phipps, as well as local executive architects OZ Architecture.

The building will centralize undergraduate academic advising and student services, and function as a threshold to the broader university for visitors and prospective students. CASE will also house programs focused on promoting off-campus community engagement and outreach to diverse student populations. Situated in the heart of the historic campus, and built directly on top of an existing parking garage, our design for CASE integrates CU Boulder’s “Tuscan Vernacular” style while taking advantage of opportunities to expand upon it.

Despite having to completely cover the garage footprint, we were able to carefully erode the volume in several critical areas, carving through the building mass to create a literal gateway to the rest of the campus. This space, which we’ve called the Portal, has the freedom to deviate from the architectural vernacular. Bora’s design embraces that freedom by introducing significantly larger openings, bridges connecting east and west building masses, and a departure from the traditional rough sandstone texture.

The Portal will be clad in fiber cement panels that nod to precast elements on other buildings, while black metal paneling on the bridges will tie in to historic window detailing elsewhere on campus. Our goal in introducing these new materials was to hint at the internal activity, social and study spaces, and interior atrium features that are largely unique to CASE.

Nestled at the foot of the Flatiron rock formations, it’s hard not to be a little jealous of the breathtaking landscape that encompasses students at CU Boulder. If these photos are whetting your appetite, you can always check in on the CASE site by visiting G.H. Phipps’ livestream.