One of Colorado’s most prestigious universities created a premier urban university by relocating in downtown Denver, taking advantage of an existing building in a prime downtown location linking education to the region’s businesses. Through adaptive design, the new school creates a strong identity and acts as a beacon and gateway from the city to the nearby campus – an iconic front door to a new education corridor in Denver. The completion of this multi-phased project speaks to a new business school providing a fresh identity to a tired 1980s building.


The program required a single facility to house classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, and seminar and breakout spaces, consolidating and centralizing from 15 locations spread around campus.  The unique program includes a state-of-the art Center for Commodities, an on-hands classroom where students interact with the most current technology systems available through live webcasts, touch screen monitoring and simulated trading software that take advantage of Colorado’s commodity-driven economy and energy companies.  The program mandated classrooms for 3,000 students, who occupy the facility from the early morning hours to late into the evening.  A café at ground level supports the future infill of the courtyard – the last phase, poised as an event center to bring speakers and business people together with students to interactively learn.


While the design is modern and innovative, the public can easily discern the old structure. The new CU Denver Business School echoes the thriving business district – it is sustainable, approachable and relevant today, while remaining adaptable for the future to come.


Project completed as Project Designer at RNL.