RATIO | HCM Unveils New Home for Smead Aerospace at CU Boulder

RATIO Architects, Inc., a top 50 multi-national design firm, has unveiled the newly designed and constructed Aerospace Engineering Sciences (AES) Building on the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) campus, the result of an architectural collaboration between RATIO, design architect, and Hord Coplan Macht, the architect of record for the project. The public unveiling was commemorated yesterday with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Boulder. The building is the new home of the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, and becomes an integral piece of the emerging aerospace hub on CU Boulder’s East Campus.

The 175,000-square-foot, four-story new landmark facility for Colorado’s aerospace industry will bring together several research clusters into one combined facility, enabling CU Boulder to advance world-class research and innovative academic programs devoted to preparing students to enter the aerospace workforce or pursue a career in research, conducting groundbreaking research from under the surface of the ocean all the way into deep space, and addressing compelling global challenges and societal needs.

“The RATIO|HCM team, in collaboration with CU Boulder Facilities Management and College of Engineering and Applied Science representatives, is excited and proud to unveil the landmark new Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building, which was designed to create the optimal space to advance interdisciplinary aerospace teaching and research key to CU Boulder’s leadership in this sector. We hope this collaborative achievement by RATIO|HCM serves as a wonderful example of the innovative work being completed in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain region, and further across the country,” said Rob Proctor, design principal at RATIO. “We’re eager to see the space come to life with active daily use by students, faculty, staff and researchers.”

Executed in a strong partnership between Hord Coplan Macht and RATIO, the AES building design provides open, flexible, sustainable research space that allows for easy reconfiguration and maximum access to daylight, as well as inspiring views to the Front Range. The layout balances proximity of office space to research labs – with collaborative, informal gathering and learning spaces to help foster creative interactions. The AES building also meets the university’s environmentally conscious design and construction standards, built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

“Our team is extremely honored to have helped deliver this transformative project, and to have had the opportunity to play a role in the University of Colorado Boulder’s continuing scientific achievement,” said Jennifer Cordes, principal and higher education studio leader at Hord Coplan Macht. “We are grateful to have been able to work with CU for over two decades, and, as an alumna of the University, I particularly am glad to have the opportunity to support current students in their academic pursuits. Every project we complete brings a sense of pride and excitement to our whole firm, but the new Aerospace Engineering Sciences building stands out as project which will greatly support the exploration and research being performed in this exciting field.”

“This new home for our amazing aerospace engineering faculty, staff and students fits within an already-impressive legacy of space activity across our campus,” said Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “With this new space to explore, the science and technology developed right here in Colorado is enabling our nation’s future in space.”

RATIO is an award-winning interdisciplinary design practice that has developed an emerging practice in Colorado and in the Mountain region with numerous completed projects, several in partnership with HCM. Founded in 1982, local RATIO-designed projects include Colorado State University’s LEED Platinum Chemistry Research Building and the Scott Bioengineering Building, the Flatiron Renaissance Suites Hotel and Conference center, as well as multiple projects for the National Park Service. The firm recently merged with Humphries Poli Architects in Denver, complementing RATIO’s existing studios in Indianapolis, Ind., Chicago and Champaign, Ill., and Raleigh, N.C.

The unveiling of the CU Boulder AES building is part of a larger national focus on STEM projects for which RATIO seeks to influence and inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and health professionals. RATIO’s additional award-winning STEM projects include Purdue University’s Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, University of Kentucky’s Digital Village, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Multidisciplinary Academic Sciences Building, Ball State University Health Professions Building, Indiana State University’s Health and Human Services Building, and South Dakota State University’s Lohr Architecture, Math and Engineering Building.

Photos courtesy of RATIO



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