Eastside Human Services Building / RNL

  • 03 Sep 2012
  • Institutional Architecture Selected Works
© Frank Ooms

Architects: RNL
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Frank Ooms


Project Area: 51,000 sq ft
Contractor: Kiewit Building Group
Mechanical Engineer: MKK Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Jirsa Hedrick & Associates
Client: City and County of Denver

  • DHS’s new Eastside Human Services Building takes an innovative approach to human service facilities; the light-filled, open, inviting design is unlike any DHS facility in
  • Environmentally responsible and designed to successfully and pleasantly accommodate clients and employees
  • Registered as pursuing LEED-NC Gold from the USGBC
  • 54,000-square-feet-facility responsibly integrated into a community of single-family homes
  • Better Denver Bond Program project
© Frank Ooms

The Department of Human Services has embraced the innovations of the last several years to construct an entirely new kind of DHS facility.  The design of the EastsideHumanServicesBuilding is thoughtful, creating a sustainable, inviting, and user friendly facility for employees and clients while being a good neighbor to the Clayton community.

© Frank Ooms

As part of the “BUILDING A BETTER DENVER” Bond Program approved by voters in November 2007, the Eastside Human Services Building was constructed at 3821 Steele Street in the Clayton Neighborhood and opened in October of 2011.  At 54,000-square-feet, the Eastside Human Services Building will accommodate a variety of programs including food stamp application services for residents in the city’s north-east neighborhoods, Low-Income Energy Assistance Program for all of Denver, Family and Adult Medicaid eligibility, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility and case management as well as Child Care enrollment, Child Welfare services, and co-location space for Workforce Development Services.

© Frank Ooms

Eastside’s design also provides employees with conference rooms, service counters and file storage to improve efficiency and better service their clientele.  In total it is estimated that the new Eastside facility will serve 80,000 individuals.

© Frank Ooms

In the true spirit of the Better Denver Bond Program, a comprehensive effort to invest in infrastructure; and to enhance and construct city facilities that touch lives, the EastsideHumanServicesBuilding is designed and is being constructed to engage the populous and produce a building that is a source of pride while providing needed services. Eastside’s design was developed to accommodate a narrow floor plate to provide ample and appropriate daylighting and decrease energy needs.  A two-story glass atrium on the south side of the structure houses the public lobby spaces and welcomes visitors into the facility.

This atrium’s high performance glass introduces sunlight and connects the indoor and outdoor environments.  This feature is complemented by a roof overhang that minimizes heat gain, increases occupant comfort, and creates an outdoor space shielded from the elements.  Entrances from the street for pedestrians and from the parking lot for drivers seamlessly usher clients into the light, airy spaces of the public atrium.  An underfloor air distribution system (UFAD) also works toward reducing energy consumption, while providing employees with individual temperature controls.  Operable windows in employee break rooms and daylight filled open office areas combine with warm, muted interior finishes to improve comfort and increase employee productivity.

© Frank Ooms

Eastside’s orientation maximizes solar control with its narrow eastern façade facing the street which in turn minimizes the impact of the facility on nearby single-family homes.  The building takes advantage of the natural slope of the site to screen the parking lot and much of the building from the street.  Site landscaping employs native or adapted plants coupled with a drip irrigation system to minimize water waste while maintaining a seasonally-changing outdoor atmosphere.  In addition, site-integrated bioswales will protect the site from run-off pollution while feeding water back into natural aquifers.

© Frank Ooms

Located just east of High Points and north of CityPark, the site was once part of the U.S. Air Force Finance Center.  The current development of Eastside Human Services is on target to achieve a LEED-NC Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  It is estimated that the facility will achieve a 40-50% energy and water savings over more conventional structures and is designed to be PV ready.

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Cite: "Eastside Human Services Building / RNL" 03 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 02 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=267761>
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