Centerbrook designed the new Center for Community at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The 320,000-square-foot building is anchored by a 900-seat, street-market-style dining complex offering freshly prepared food in nine specialty dining stations, including sushi, Italian, Brazilian, and Persian dishes.

Known in campus shorthand as “C4C” and certified LEED Platinum,the new facility sits strategically between student dormitories and academic buildings, while the Flat Iron Mountains serve as a dramatic backdrop. The Center for Community houses all 12 student support offices, such as career counseling, and a commissary that supplies all other food outlets on campus. Its culinary Marketplace, which is the largest restaurant in the state, provides as many as 6,000 meals a day. The dining component garnered First Place in the Food Management Magazine Awards, and the Center for Community is featured in a new book: “Building Type Basics for College and University Facilities (John Wiley & Sons).

The ultra modern dining facility is geared to satisfying the tastes of an increasingly diverse, sophisticated, and international student body, as well as persons with food allergies. Homesick students can even bring in family recipes for chefs to make on the spot. The Italian food station is playfully tricked out in a Vespa Scooter theme, while The Grotto boasts an ever-changing lightshow on its ceiling.

With its exterior walls, constructed of rough-hewn, variegated sandstone fashioned from local quarries, and terracotta roof tiles, the building adheres to the existing campus aesthetic even as it embodies a commanding new architectural presence. An expansive, three-story atrium and signature bell tower anchor four elongated wings that capture both natural light and afford inspiring views. Parking for 375 vehicles is located below grade.

Centerbrook was the design architect, collaborating with Davis Partnership Architects of Denver on the project. The foodservice design was done by Baker Group of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The building took just 15 months to construct.

Centerbrook was also the design architects for the Wolf Law School and the Health Sciences Library at the University of Colorado’s Boulder and Denver campuses respectively. All told, Centerbrook and Davis have collaborated on five projects in the Colorado University system.

Photography © Casey Cass, Paul Brokering, Jeff Goldberg/Esto