UCAR Research Aviation Facility

University Corporation for Atmospheric Science
Architectural Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Programming
Advanced Industries
Broomfield, CO
Project type
New construction

A modern facility to amplify and celebrate atmospheric research

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), national resource for airborne geoscience research,  selected our team for the replacement of their Research Aviation Facility at Rocky Mountain Municipal Airport in Broomfield, Colorado. In service since 1964, the facility had become outdated, requiring upgrades to adequately serve the needs of its occupants.

The 15,600-square-foot single-story building was replaced with a new 43,000-square-foot two-story building to house offices, research laboratories, and ITAR controlled warehouse space. The addition connects the two existing hangars, which both received a refresh through this project, allowing occupants to move within spaces easily and within secure environments.

Showcasing exciting research for years to come

To balance efficiency and excitement throughout the workspace, the design places employee research at center stage with laboratories and hangars visible from office community spaces through windows and glass walls.

Common spaces throughout the facility strategically position researchers for casual collaboration across departments, building both office culture and opportunities for new ideas. The placement of individual work areas and these open spaces draws a clear pathway between private focus areas and shared common areas, making it easy for researchers to transition to the space that best suits their needs. This layout also brings daylight into these spaces, supporting overall occupant wellness.

Rendering (left) vs. reality (right)

Fostering natural collaboration with space and technology

When collaborating and meeting with guests, researchers have access to a multipurpose area off the main lobby. The design of this space centers around a multi-tile high-tech media wall. This media wall was of utmost importance within the space’s design, as this allows researchers to monitor real-time data when aircraft is deployed, as well as presentations and de-briefs.

This flexible common space is the physical embodiment of UCAR’s mission, creating space for the community to share ideas for the betterment of our world. The space’s uses include a classroom, a space to host community events, a large gathering space for staff, and an operation center for aircraft deployment and research. The easy manipulation of a glass partition that separates the multipurpose space and lobby allows for a natural flow and event spillover as needed.

Maximizing project site for employee respite

As an atmospheric research nonprofit, the connectivity to our natural world was of utmost importance to UCAR. Emphasizing the ties between well-being and connection to the outdoors, our team created multiple outdoor areas and spaces with access to the nature.

Our Site studio created various outdoor spaces that were responsive to our UCAR’s specific program requirements including access to nature, various spaces for meetings, socialization, and relaxation, secure, and reflective of it’s place.

Preparing for climate change

UCAR’s new facility attracts national research teams for its state-of-the-art resources and celebration of the important work done within the facility. This enables critical studies that will help modern society better prepare for and respond to weather and climate threats.

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