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The Building of America

The Doerr-Hosier Center

Facts & Figures

Aspen, Colorado

Owner: The Aspen Institute Type of Project: A new

Doerr-Hosier Center

conference center Size: 21,900 square feet Construction Time: September 2005 - June 2007

a meadow and a reflecting pond.

project, is that the reflecting pond

facilitate open dialogue and



The most innovative aspect of the

is actually a 150,000-gallon geo-

communication as well as

founded in 1950 whose mission

project, according to Jim Curtis,

thermal pool that conceals the

connect people to nature

is to foster enlightened leadership,

president of Curtis & Associates,

ground-source heat pump heating

the appreciation of timeless ideas

the owner’s representative for the

and cooling system of the building.

The Need: A building that would

The Challenge: Staying on schedule despite a number of delays

The Aspen Institute is an internonprofit

and values, and open-minded dia-

continued on page 6

logue on contemporary issues. The institute determined it needed a new building on its Aspen, Colo., campus that would facilitate this renowned global think tank as well as create spaces that connect people to nature, enhancing awareness and promoting a stronger sense of personal energy. In addition, as a center for political, health and environmental forums, the project was required to embody the intent of sustainability as well as achieve a responsible ecological footprint.

Gold Medal Award-winning Team Members Curtis & Associates Owner’s Representative Jeffrey Berkus Architects Architect Shaw Construction Construction Manager/General Contractor Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. Acoustical Design & Consulting

Thus, the Doerr-Hosier Center, a fullservice conference, meeting hall and banquet facility, was built. Centrally located at the Aspen Meadows on The Aspen Institute campus, the three-story, 21,900square-foot center has received a





Environmental Design (LEED®) gold rating while respecting the scale and modulation of the surrounding architecture and landscape, according to Jeffrey Berkus of Jeffrey Berkus Architects, the project’s architect. “As a conference center, this project is a noteworthy departure from the typically dark and fatiguing ballroom, meeting and breakout rooms solutions,” he said. “This design focuses on a strong connection to nature where all meeting and gathering spaces open to adjacent terraces and views. Users love this facility and have experienced the sense of energy created by the open floor plan, daylighting and feng shui inspiration.” Approaching the building, visitors pass over a bridge between Photos courtesy of Michael Brands/Aspen Architectural Photography

colorado edition

gold medal award winner

The Architect’s Perspective with Jeffrey Berkus, Jeffrey Berkus Architects Q: Describe the project in relative detail, incorporating what you think makes the project unique, innovative, important or sets it apart. How does the design complement the overall mission of the facility/ owner? JB: The Doerr-Hosier Center is the last structure to be built on the Bauhaus inspired, historically designated Aspen Institute campus. Emphasizing sustainable design principles, this modernist building will receive a LEED® gold rating, while respecting the scale and modulation of the surrounding architecture and landscape. As a conference center, this project is a noteworthy departure from the typically dark and fatiguing “ballroom, meeting and breakout rooms” solutions. This design focuses on a strong connection to nature where all meeting and gathering spaces open to adjacent terraces and views. Users love this facility and have experienced the sense of energy created by the open floor plan, daylighting and elements of feng shui inspiration. The skin of precast concrete, zinc, steel and glass relates to the materials of the campus and provides for a low-maintenance exterior. Tented roof terraces add usable square footage for the summer months and give the building an added seasonal dimension. Shafts of light pierce the history room in the lower level on equinox and solstice, keeping the participants in touch with the passage of time. Architect and artist have worked in collaboration to create a “Dynamic Modernism” — A place where structure, nature and the individual are co-dependant; a place where structure and sculpture are inseparable. The architect honors “a society of rooms” that allows for free flowing energy in the experience of place. The artist has created a “Stone River” made from red sandstone that was collected from five continents; common ground colored by the same iron that is found in the blood we all share. The sculpture literally flows through the building connecting the meadow in front to the river behind the site.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Berkus

Q: What were the greatest challenges encountered on this project, either from your firm’s point of view or as a project team? JB: Greatest challenge [was] to design a building that would fit sensitively into a relatively small meadow between existing historical structures. The new building is much larger in scale, but had to respect the style and size of the surrounding buildings to universally satisfy the interests of the diverse Aspen Institute Board of Trustees. To construct a very complex building in 16 months, that would span two winter seasons and maintain a high level of quality. To achieve a gold LEED® rating on a tight schedule while trying to meet a budget.

Q: What were some of the lessons learned from this project? JB: The necessity to keep excellent communication between ownerships, designers, contractors and subcontractors throughout the process. Doing the interior design in-house has its benefits. We were able to control the process and outcome to a higher degree.

430 W. Main St. Aspen, CO 81611 970-925-7017

The Owner’s Perspective with Jim Curtis, President, Curtis & Associates Q: What is the most unique or important feature of the facility (or of the design/construction process)? JC: The all-inclusive sustainable design of the building from architectural, construction and operational viewpoints. The aesthetics of the building highlighted by an Andy Goldsworthy environmental art piece that is integral to the building and the site.

Q: What is the most innovative aspect of the project (or of the design/construction process, financing, environmental)? What could others learn from? JC: The ground-source heat pump [GSHP] heating and cooling system of the building, which has been aesthetically integrated into the building by an approximately 150,000-gallon reflecting pool, which acts as a thermal cavity for the GSHP system.

Q: What were the greatest challenges encountered on this project? How, specifically, were they overcome? JC: Building through two winter seasons in Aspen, Colo., one of which saw a record snowfall for the past 30 years. Then, as with all construction projects, maintaining budget and schedule for the project.

Q: How did the strengths and experience of the project team contribute to the success of the project? JC: The project superintendent had over 27 years of experience of building in the mountains, and he was the glue that held the project together.

Q: If another owner was about to commence work on a similar project, what advice would you offer from your experiences that he/she may not be aware of? JC: Start the planning and design process early, have ownership commit to sustainable design at the start, have the architect and contractor carefully review full drawings prior to construction and strive to eliminate any changes during construction.

Photo courtesy of Jim Curtis

Curtis & Associates 300 E. Hyman Ave., 2nd Fl. Aspen, CO 81611 970-920-1395


Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. (CSA), with lo-

background noise, sound transmission and rever-

cations in San Francisco and San Jose, is a highly

beration. This award-winning facility allows CSA’s

Projects on which CSA has consulted include

specialized firm consulting in a wide variety of areas,

consultants to demonstrate ventilation noise, sound

Breckenridge Riverwalk Center, SLAC Astrophysics

including acoustics, audiovisual, and telecommunica-

transmission in buildings and reverberation within

Institute, Riverside Park Amphitheater, Colburn School

tions system design.

spaces. This helps clients make decisions based on

of Performing Arts, and Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. In

Founded in 1975 by Charles M. Salter, CSA was

subjective listening experiences. In addition, clients

addition, CSA consulted on the Harris Concert Hall in

initially an acoustical consulting firm. In order to

can weigh the cost/benefit issues associated with

Aspen, Colo. The 500-seat, largely subterranean con-

better meet the needs of its clients, the company

creating the most suitable acoustical environments

cert hall is used primarily for music performances,

expanded its package of services to incorporate

for their projects.

music recording and film screenings. It has a reverse fan shape with a maximum ceiling height of 10 me-

audiovisual and telecommunications consulting. Today, CSA has a staff of more than 40 em-

Expert consultants

ters and features a canopy above the stage that can be adjusted to accommodate the number of perform-

ployees who consult on more than 900 projects

CSA’s associates work in a collaborative style, fo-

annually. CSA’s consultants have backgrounds in

cusing on particular areas of service that they have

engineering, physics, architecture, music, speech,

been retained to provide while coordinating with

During the past 10 years, the fields of acoustics,

theater and telecommunications. This diversity of

other disciplines. “Client needs and wants are identi-

audiovisual design and telecommunications have

experience allows the firm to provide clients with

fied early in the design process by preparing written

been growing, and expectations have risen. At the

tailored services for a wide variety of projects. “Our

program goals that we translate into design criteria,”

forefront of the industry, CSA continues to focus on

expertise spans project types from concert halls to

says Cristina Miyar, vice president of CSA. The pro-

understanding client concerns and goals in addition

power plants,” says David Schwind, senior vice presi-

cess focuses on bringing the project’s program and

to providing quality design services.

dent of CSA.

budget into alignment for overall success. With consultants who can draw from a multitude

consulting services in acoustics, audiovisual, and

Audiovisual and media design

of experiences, CSA provides its clients with infor-

telecommunications system design. The firm’s ex-

CSA provides consulting and design services for

mation and alternatives to offer a variety of options

perience consulting on hundreds of projects annually

architects, building owners, facility managers, and

rather than demand a specific, singular approach.

and its vast product knowledge are what make it a

others considering audiovisual systems for their fa-

CSA’s knowledge of such a wide variety of project

leader in the industry.

cilities. Typical audiovisual design projects for CSA

types, combined with its client-focused approach,

incorporate video and projection systems, audio sys-

has placed it at the forefront of the industry.

ers and the type of music being played.

Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. provides expert

— Corporate Profile

tems, teleconferencing/distance learning systems, sound masking, multimedia Web content engineering, and telecommunications.

130 Sutter St., Ste. 500 San Francisco, CA 94104

Acoustical simulations In order to audibly and visually create acoustical environments for clients, CSA has an in-house presentation






continued from page 2

A red sandstone sculptural wall,

Inc. provided acoustical design and

coined the Stone River, intersects

consulting services for the building.

the bridge and flows on through

The company’s services included

the main-level conference space,

submittal, shop drawings, request

emerging on a riverfront terrace

for information (RFI) review and

on campus.

response, a site visit, and post-con-

The lobby connects all levels

struction acoustical measurements.

of the building and serves as the

“Ventilation noise and vibration

prefunction and breakout area

reduction, sound isolation, and

for bigger events. “Floor-to-ceil-

appropriate room acoustics are

ing, north-facing glass encourages

critical to the success of a confer-

participants to stay engaged with

ence facility,” said Cristina Miyar,

one another and the natural setting

vice president, and David Schwind,

of the roaring Fork Valley,” said

senior vice president of Charles M.

Berkus. The main conference room

Salter Associates.

shape is based on a mandala, giving

The project team met with a

a much centered energy for gather-

few challenges along the way. Site

ing, according to Berkus. There

accessibility suffered and construc-

are large window assemblies and

tion slowed when protests from

clerestory windows on all four sides

local residents ensued over a num-

of the room, providing enough

ber of large cottonwood trees that

daylight for meetings all day long

the City of Aspen had permitted for

without the need for artificial light-

removal. Finding an agreeable solu-

ing. Operable windows low and

tion affected the project’s schedule

high create cross ventilation, while

and allowed for eight of the trees

sliding glass doors give access to a

to remain, reducing the amount of

terrace overlooking the Fork River.

laydown and staging areas available

An executive boardroom with floor-

for the project. In addition, weather-

to-ceiling glass on three sides is

related highway delays and closures

located on the third level, as is a

threatened to further slow the sched-

sunset terrace and large rooftop

ule. According to Miller, in order to

terrace for 200, overlooking the

overcome these challenges, Shaw

Fork River.

prepared a new logistics plan for

“The vision of the center was

winter construction that minimized

to utilize a variety of exterior and

the area for laydown and reduced

interior materials that represent a

the amount of materials that would

diverse environment and reflect

be stored at the site while still main-

material from around the world,”

taining job productivity.

said Diane M. Miller, vice president

Completed in June 2007, the

of Shaw Construction, the proj-

facility exceeded the owner’s goals.

ect’s construction manager/general


contractor. Materials included pure

Center stands out among its peers

white precast concrete, structural

because its mission is captured in

and exposed cast-in-place concrete,

every component of the center

zinc metals, titanium, four different

— beginning with the site selec-

types of stone, a rubber roof mem-

tion at the Aspen Meadows, the

brane, various tile selections, and

global perspective that went into

bamboo flooring. “Each and every

the selection of materials and

product selection required a discus-

systems, a building that repre-

sion of low VOC [volatile organic

sents LEED® gold green building

compound] or recycled material,”

standards, as well as a project that

added Miller.

maintained accessibility throughout

Charles M. Salter Associates,



— Stacey Nathanson


its construction.” n Photos courtesy of Michael Brands/Aspen Architectural Photography

colorado edition

gold medal award winner

The Construction Manager/General Contractor’s Perspective with Diane M. Miller, Vice President, Shaw Construction Q: Please describe the project in relative detail, highlighting construction techniques and methodology. Please note any unusual construction materials or techniques used on the project. DM: …The Doerr-Hosier Center stands out among its peers because its mission is captured in every component of the center, beginning with the site selection at the Aspen Meadows, the global perspective that went into the selection of materials and systems, a building that represents LEED® gold green building standards, as well a project that maintained accessibility throughout its construction…. The vision for the center was to utilize a variety of exterior and interior materials that represent a diverse environment and reflected material from around the world. Material selections included: pure white precast elements, structural and exposed cast-in-place concrete, zinc metals, titanium, four different types of stone, a rubber roof membrane, and various tile selections and bamboo flooring. The structure’s precast concrete is composed of all white aggregate to provide for a “purity” of material and afford a 75- to 100-year life cycle. Another long-life-cycle product was the galvanized metal exterior that was created in small modules to avoid oil canning during the change of temperature. Each and every product selection required a discussion of low VOC or recycled material. Very little plywood was used within the building, instead recycled materials were provided. To reach the desired acoustic levels for the conference center a recycled denim material was installed to absorb sound along with interior paneling similar to peg board, called Rulon, [which] was used to allow for sound to penetrate into the walls. The ceilings are a EuroSpan product similar to a large 16 x 20 linen cloth. Only two U.S. firms provide and install this product and require early coordination. The system includes an installation base within a track system and with the fabric stretched into place and tucked into the track system. It also acts as part of the acoustical system of the building.

Photo courtesy of Michael Brands

The building systems included the use of a reflecting pond as a heat source/sink, a hybrid boiler/GSHP system for heating and internal heat recovery between zones. These systems serve not only functional purposes but provide a stunning architectural feature to [the] building’s main entry.

Q: What is the most innovative aspect of the project (or of the design/construction process)? What could other owners learn from for their future projects? DM: Geothermal system was the most innovative aspect. Owner should recognize that using these types of systems requires lots of communication between trades and coordination issues.

Q: What were the greatest challenges encountered on this project and how, specifically, did you overcome them? DM: Change directives were one of the challenging components since the owner received additional capital funds during construction [and] they took the opportunity to enhance the building when possible.

760 Horizon Dr. Grand Junction, CO 81506 970-242-9236

24445 Northwestern Hwy. Ste. 218 • Southfield, MI 48075 • 248-945-4700 • fax: 248-945-4701 •

Construction Communications Gold Medal Edition - Doerr-Hosier Center  

Special Gold Medal Edition of the Real Estate and Construction Review features Colorado's Doerr-Hosier Center. The Gold Medal Building of Am...