Flight Field @ Aerospace Engineering Science Campus: University of Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Current Status: Construction Documents

Centrally located on the East Campus, this project presented an opportunity to create a new landscape identity unique to the East Campus.  A landscape still rooted in the traditions of the Main campus but not bound by the same history and traditional typologies. The East Campus currently has a significantly higher proportion of “natural” areas” in comparison to the Main Campus. There are advantages to maintaining (and restoring) these natural areas for aesthetic appreciation, habitat, storm water management, reduced irrigation water use and landscape maintenance purposes.

Our approach is to design a more ecologically robust landscape system. A landscape more appropriate to this time, to current water use norms, to current storm water quality practices, and to the modern intellects and attitudes of scientists and their students.

The landscape at CU Boulder’s new Aerospace Engineering Facility expresses matters of the sky on the ground plane. The landscape is a fluid extension of the building’s primary circulation movement and is driven by the idea of etching flight paths on the ground. It articulates the academic content of the Aerospace building and serves as an appropriate counterpart to activities within. The landscape supports the unique needs of AE students to test various flying apparatus and data gathering ground rovers. A large patio provides an extension of lab spaces and an outdoor testing space.

A large outreach plaza adjacent to the main entry will provide ample space for student gathering and convenient circulation to the adjacent MacAllister Hall. South of the outreach plaza, a shady grove and a large sunny lawn provide spaces for larger gatherings, events, and recreation.

The driving theme of capturing the sky is expressed in the ecological components. Storm water management is integrated into the landscape with bio-filtration channels that clean water before it enters the adjacent Skunk Creek. All roof water and stormwater run-off will be directed into these channels.