In a visionary move during the 1970s, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority assembled the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), a 143-acre parcel shared by the Community College of Denver, the Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the University of Colorado at Denver. This grouping promotes social and academic synergy among the schools, saves money with shared facilities, and capitalizes on the adjacency of downtown Denver to generate jobs, research, and mutually beneficial intellectual capital. Each school has its own distinct facilities but shares resources like the library, student center, and recreation facilities. Yet today, the three institutions lack physical centeredness and struggle to achieve institutional identity. There is also a need to integrate the campus more closely into the downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods, provide for the considerable growth in the AHEC student body expected in the next two decades, and design for sustainability. AHEC engaged Sasaki to address these concerns. The resulting master plan brings greater clarity and efficiency to the AHEC.
Sasaki's master plan update builds on the idea of giving each of the institutions its own distinct quarter within AHEC, providing each school an identifiable home within the campus. Simultaneously, the plan establishes a Campus Crossroads that strengthens the common mission and shared territory between schools and within the urban context.
The master plan identifies 15 acres of the campus as a site for public-private partnerships with up to 2 million square feet of mixed-use construction. This bold move connects the AHEC with downtown Denver, providing significant linkage to the financial district, theatre district, and many vibrant neighborhoods. The development also enlivens the campus with a variety of employment opportunities, as well as entertainment, retail, arts and culture, and housing options. Finally, the development introduces a much-needed source of revenue to support academics on campus. Commercial development offers a way for the institutions to monetize their real estate assets and use these resources to invest in core academic programs.
Without undermining the shared identity and facilities of the AHEC campus, the design enhances the identity of the individual institutions by establishing institutional neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are located on each of the three arterial streets that frame the campus, providing a framework for unique program growth and distinct architectural identities.
The plan for the AHEC's physical design and sustainability measures are congruent with Greenprint Denver, a document that articulates the goals and strategies for sustainable growth in the city. Such strategies include photovoltaic energy generation, water use reduction, a native plan landscape strategy, rain and stormwater reuse, guidelines for high performance buildings, and increased rate of transit use among students and staff. Denver's mass transit plan includes a significant extension of the light rail system and locates a transit stop at the Auraria West Campus station. In the next few years, the campus will be served by two more lines, in addition to the existing three lines that serve the Colfax at Auraria station.
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Portland State University (PSU) is a large and dynamic urban research institution with over 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. With rapid growth in enrollment...
Abu Dhabi University Education Park (ADUEP) is a fundamental initiative of Abu Dhabi University's mission to provide a workforce educated in technology to meet the demands of Abu Dhabi's burgeoning economy....