Design ArchitectMoore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners
Santa Monica, California
Executive ArchitectAnderson Mason Dale Architects
General ContractorSaunders Construction
Sheet Metal ContractorDouglass Colony Group
Commerce City, Colorado
Copper Wall and Roof PanelsFirestone Building Materials
Created by design architects Moore Ruble Yudell and executive architect Anderson Mason Dale along with contractor Saunders Construction, the University of Denver’s new Community Commons brings a critical mass of students and resources to the center of campus. Located at a crossroads within the university, the Community Commons features tiered paths that evoke the canyons of Colorado’s regional landscapes. Copper cladding across the building establishes a striated pattern against glassy bays that evoke local canyons and crystal outcroppings. By taking inspiration from Colorado’s geological context, these distinctive exteriors further connect the building to its surroundings.
The Community Commons also sets high sustainable design goals and engages the university community to emphasize health and wellness. The structure provides equitable access to daylight through a north-facing clerestory that spans the entire building length and takes advantage of Denver’s 300 annual days of sunshine. It further seeks to enhance occupant well-being by setting social stairs along the flow path, incorporating operable windows, allowing individual control, and placing outdoor terraces and gardens around the building that connect to nature and enrich social interactions. In addition, responsive planning and high-performance building systems reduce energy use by nearly half.
The existing University of Denver campus features copper prominently across the campus. Copper is a regionally sourced and produced material, reducing embodied energy in the extraction, manufacturing, and delivery process. Copper’s longevity in architectural applications is anticipated to perform for the life of the building, minimizing maintenance and avoiding replacement of cladding materials in the future.