University of Colorado - Boulder
Charles Z. Klauder
Pencil rendering of Men's Gymnasium (Carlson)
photo by M. Ray
A little over a year ago, Populous embarked on a quest to be hired as architect of new training facilities for the Athletic Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. We won the project, my family and I moved to Boulder for the year, and the work has quickly transformed itself from sketches to over 50% constructed. My conceptual sketches below were prepared for the interview and are my attempts to best channel the style of Klauder's original pencil renderings.
The story of this campus is unique. Klauder's preliminary designs for new buildings at CU were rendered in the Collegiate Gothic style - his firm in Philadelphia was responsible for Cathedral of Learning @ Carnegie Mellon, Heinz Chapel @ U. Pitt, works @ Yale, Princeton, etc. After receiving approval from the CU Board of Regents, and during the return train ride to Philly, Klauder had an epiphany that the context of the campus in Boulder deserved an architectural vocabulary that better responded to the surrounding mountain-scape. According to legend, he got off the east-bound train in Chicago and immediately returned to Boulder and presented the Board of Regents with the new idea of a campus rendered in the Tuscan vernacular. Hello fieldstone and red clay tile roofs! The combination of architectural narrative and rocky mountains is stunning and unique among college campus design.
I made myself as familiar with Chas. Klauder's work as possible. And, after studying the campus - and especially the post-Klauder buildings, I felt that merely copying his forms and details seems to have consistently failed. It is my feeling that seeking the inspirations that Klauder had for this remarkably beautiful campus: Tuscan hill towns, and the great vocabulary of Classical orders and expressions of Renaissance architecture, was the proper starting point and direction in order for a new building to have success alongside the originals.
The final edition of the designs being constructed is slightly different; I will provide more postings as the exterior materials are installed (very soon indeed).