Photography: David Lauer

Can a person leave a building healthier than when they entered?

This question became a driver for Gensler’s biophilic design concept for a high-performance building renovation of the Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado in Denver’s Lower Downtown. The building was originally built in 1908 and was first named the Kennicott-Patterson Transfer and Storage Building, originally used as a warehouse. Fast-forward to over 100 years later, the design team was tasked with redesigning the footprint to become highly efficient multi-tenant space.

Project Details

  • Architect
    Gensler
  • Date Completed

    June 2014

  • Location

    1536 Wynkoop St, Lower Downtown (LoDo), Denver, Colorado

  • Size

    38,000 sq. ft.

  • Capacity

    5-10 organizations; 53 collaborative spaces; 22 touchdown spaces; 18 conference/team rooms

Wood use

There were a few core design principles the design team stuck to in order to achieve their sustainability and occupant well-being goals:

  • Utilize the original 1908 heavy timber elements
  • Implement design features including natural wood elements related to biophilia by reinforcing health and wellness in the workplace
  • Minimal walls in order to engage biophilic and connectivity concepts

Adaptive re-use of the space, leveraging existing structural wood beams resulted in:

  • Space for 5-10 organizations with 53 collaborative spaces; 22 touchdown spaces; 18 conference/team rooms. These alternative workplaces are a shift from private office to a co-working environment
  • Seamless use of technology and mobility strategies
  • A new model of private and shared spaces for a multi-tenant building
  • Maximum reduction of carbon footprint
  • Optimal use of existing infrastructure

This type of sustainable co-working space represents a growing trend for buildings that are “designed and operated to enhance the health and well-being of their occupants [and] will be important differentiators in an increasingly green marketplace” (Dodge Data and Analytics SmartMarket report).

Awards received

  • LEED v4 Existing Buildings Operations + Maintenance Platinum Recertification
  • LEED Arc Platinum Recertification
  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment: Environmental Leadership ProgramGold Leader
  • Certifiably Green Denver Organization and Event Space
  • Energy Star Certification
  • Showcase Project with the Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge
  • Participant and Endorser of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Waste Recovery Program
  • National Leadership Award for Education by an Organization
  • City of Denver Mayor’s Design Award: It Ain’t Easy Being Green
  • Colorado Office of Energy Management and Conservation: Energy Champion
  • 2015 Colorado Facility Award of Excellence: Adaptive Reuse of a Building/Space
  • USGBC Colorado’s Executive Director Award for showcasing innovative solutions in resource efficiency at The Alliance Center
  • Denver Mayor’s Design Award
  • USGBC National Leadership Award for Education by an Organization
  • Colorado Energy Champion award from Colorado Governor Owens’ Office of Energy Management and Conservation