University of Colorado, Boulder – Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE)

  • area / size 115,000 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • BORA Architects and OZ Architecture have collaborated to design the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) located in Boulder, Colorado.

    The University of Colorado Boulder is dedicated to creating a community of leaders who innovate and positively impact humanity. CU Boulder’s new Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) aligns with this mission, serving as a gateway to the flagship campus by bringing together key student support centers and showcasing the CU Boulder experience to prospective students. The new building houses the Admissions Office’s Campus Visit Operations, University Exploration and Advising Center, the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, Office of Pre-College Outreach and Engagement, and other campus-wide resources, along with a spectrum of formal and informal learning spaces. Campus tours begin at CASE, which serves as a welcoming and distinctive gateway and point of arrival for prospective students and their families.

    Situated in the heart of the historic campus and built directly on top of a 27-year old parking garage, Bora’s design team, together with OZ as Architect of Record, was tasked with creating a new building that feels both integral to its context and architecturally forward-facing. Creating an approachable, inviting experience on this site posed a significant challenge, as the existing garage structure needed to be fully covered and had a footprint nearly the size of a football field. This required CASE’s ‘ground’ floor to be elevated a full story above grade and called for careful attention to breaking up the building’s mass.

    Bora’s approach splits the building in two, carving through CASE to create a university “Portal.” A monumental stair amplifies the public’s entry experience and passing through the space leads to a rolling landscaped berm gently spilling out into the campus beyond. The Portal itself has the freedom to deviate from CU Boulder’s architectural vernacular. Bora + OZ embraced that freedom by introducing significantly larger openings, bridges connecting east and west building masses, and a departure from the traditional rough sandstone texture – all while maximizing views and natural light at the building’s core.

    The new LEED Gold building features a multi-purpose 250-seat auditorium, and a range of active learning spaces all designed to showcase outstanding faculty and serve as an incubator for progressive pedagogy across the campus. A new approach to academic support puts a departmentally-integrated drop-in style advising center at the social heart of the building, with a state-of-the-art digitally branded experience welcoming all who enter.

    CASE’s program was carefully blended to convey CU’s dedication to student success, establishing an icon that embodies their commitment to empower all Buffaloes to “Be Boulder.” As a nexus of student services, the building will foster interaction, inclusivity and collaboration.

    This project marks the 4th collaboration between Bora and OZ, and builds on their track record of beautiful, flexible, welcoming learning environments for students in Colorado. When prospective students and their families pass through CASE, it is sure to make an indelible first impression. As a gateway and front door to CU Boulder, physically and academically, it stands as an invitation to grow and explore for many years to come.

    Design ArchitectBORA Architects
    Architect of RecordOZ Architecture
    Interior Design: BORA Architects and OZ Architecture
    Contractor: GHPhipps
    Photography: Steve Maylone