Lake|Flato and Shears Adkins Rockmore have broken ground on the University of Denver's new Burwell Center for Career Achievement. Designed as a campus hub for the university, the project was made to be a gathering place for the extended DU community. Sited at a key nexus between the campus's traditional core and its growing urban edge, the new 23,000 square foot center combines student career development with alumni engagement and programming.
Created in collaboration with Landscape Architect Didier Design Studio, the Burwell Center and its surrounding site are focused on creating "sticky spaces," areas that encourage users to linger and interact. The ground floor is designed to connect with the surrounding landscape, linking the Center to DU's academic core and its future campus additions. As one moves up through the building, interactions gradually become more intentional and focused. The ground floor encourages serendipitous encounters around the sticky spaces, whereas the upper floors are focused on coaching, interviews, and career advising.
Made to be a LEED Platinum building, the Burwell Center is anticipated to use 70% less energy than comparable university buildings. Ryan Yaden, AIA, Project Architect for Lake|Flato, said that "Coming out of our integrated design workshops, it was clear that the DU community was committed to a sustainable and environmentally responsible project. This ethic led to the selection of mass timber using the most sustainable forestry practices for the building's structural system, which will be exposed throughout. The result will be a beautiful, biophilic space that harmonizes with the natural and built context. On the outside, photovoltaic panels are expressed as part of the building's roof form, clearly demonstrating the DU commitment to environmental stewardship." Inside, a tower stair will serve as a beacon and an executive lounge will provide views to the campus, the adjacent city core, and the nearby Rocky Mountains, connecting visitors to the neighboring landscape.
Dan Craig, AIA, Project Architect for SA+R and DU Alum ('99), stated that "The collaboration throughout this project has been extremely impactful. Early in the project a series of integrated design workshops, engaging hundreds of people from the DU community, established a social contract for the building. This informed every decision we made – it allowed the entire team to design a project that we are all proud of and that will serve the DU community for generations to come."
Planned for a Fall 2020 opening, the project has been led by the design team at Lake|Flato, with SA+R providing local architectural support, regulatory insight, and Construction Administration facilitation. Didier Design Studio has led the landscape design and PCL Construction provided pre-construction services and will now lead the construction process.