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CU Boulder Campus Expands a Key Biophysics Research Facility

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Photo courtesy of Saunders Construction
The addition provides cutting-edge laboratory, research, office and collaborative spaces for the growth of JILA.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Construction
The facility hosts some of the worlds leading scientists, including Nobel laureates in physics.
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2012 Special Judges Recognition

2012 Best Project

Higher Education/Research Category

University of Colorado & NIST JILA X-Wing Addition

Boulder, Colo.

The University of Colorado Boulder's 50,800-sq-ft addition to JILA, formerly called the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, is designed to further scientific research, from precision measurements to biophysics and nanoscience. The facility hosts some of the world's leading scientists, including Nobel laureates in physics. The structure provides cutting-edge laboratory, research, office and collaborative spaces for the growth of JILA, which is a joint collaboration between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the university.

The project team had significant constraints to overcome throughout the project. The building is located in one of the most congested areas on the campus, surrounded by residence halls, the music building—where rehearsals and performances are ongoing—and the central powerplant. Additionally, the new JILA X-Wing attaches to the building's existing S-Wing, where some of the world's foremost research in precision measurement is being performed.

The team worked closely with university scientists and researchers to limit noise and vibration levels and the impact of construction on the highly sensitive research. At the basement level, researchers worked only a foot away from major construction.

Another constraint was that work was permitted only for 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, to allow research to be conducted at all other times.

Key Players

Owner: University of Colorado & NIST, Boulder, Colo.

Architect: HDR Architecture Inc., Denver

General Contractor: Saunders Construction, Centennial, Colo.

Civil & Structural Engineer: Martin/Martin Inc., Lakewood, Colo.

MEP: Cator Ruma & Associates, Lakewood, Colo.

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