Designing the Lazarra Center for Oral-Facial Health for the University of Colorado's School of Dentistry presented a rare opportunity for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the design team of Christopher Carvell Architects, PC, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Designed for the healthcare delivery of the future, the building reflects the School of Dentistry's mission to be the premier provider of oral-facial care in the Rocky Mountain region. Dr. Denise Kassebaum, Interim Dean, said, “To be in a facility that is second to none and on a campus that is one of the most dynamic in the country is an amazing thing.”

This extraordinary facility provides an airy, light-filled interior for both the public and clinical spaces. The building's environment is enhanced with indirect sunlight and layered transparency, taking advantage of Colorado's beautiful vistas. Visitors move through the sunlit lobby, with open stairs carrying them to three public and clinical floors.

Facility requirements included designing a building that would attract students, providing a space conducive to interaction, and offering a beautiful environment. “We wanted to create a quality of life for the occupants, knowing that their favorite place is generally not the dentist's office,” said Dr. Robert Trombly, Associate Dean. In addition, the building had to be very efficient. According to Jim Webber of Saunders Construction, “The building is unique in that it's expandable for an additional floor. It's a very forward-thinking building, and all systems are designed to accommodate growth.”

Project category: New construction (completed September 2005)

Chief administrator: Mike Barden, Manager of Major Projects, UCHSC Facilities Projects, (303) 724-1245

Firm: Christopher Carvell Architects, PC, (303) 595-0491

Design team: Christopher A. Carvell, Principal-in-Charge; Ta-Yuan Lee, Job Captain/PA (Christopher Carvell Architects, PC); Bernie Cywinski, FAIA, Principal Designer (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson); Bruce Appel, Principal, MDP (Cator Ruma Associates); Paul Doak, PE, Principal, Structural Engineering (Martin/Martin); Margie Snow, Interior Furnishings Consultant (Gallun Snow)

Photography: © Frank Ooms Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 95,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $279

Total construction cost (excluding land): $26,500,000