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National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Café

Embracing and celebrating the surrounding environment

  • 12K

    Square Feet

  • $6M

    Construction Value

  • Golden, Colorado

    Golden, Colorado

Designing the first full-service dining facility at NRELs Colorado campus

At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado—centrally-located between the campus’s garage and the net-zero energy Research Support Facility office building—lies a brand-new cafe. The cafe is the first full-service dining facility to be built on the campus and can accommodate 240 guests at any given time, with the balcony and north terrace providing additional seating for 70-plus people.

The mission behind the cafe was to offer convenience while embracing and celebrating the surrounding mesa environment and providing views of the arroyo. Use of the 12,000-square-foot dining facility will be staggered to accommodate all campus employees while promoting the efficient and economical use of the dining hall throughout the day.

Set on what will become the campus’s main pedestrian mall, the facility’s primary entrance is marked by a stairway with sunlit spaces and casual seating, as well as a gabled roof—both of these features reflect the campus’s existing architecture.

Upon entering the Café, visitors will encounter high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. The interior dining area provides flexibility with furnishings that accommodate a single guest stopping in for a quick breakfast or a group meeting for lunch. The Café also offers more relaxed, lounge seating options, while the material selection and textures were chosen to evoke comfort without sacrificing ease of maintenance and durability.

At a Glance

Offices
Awards
2012 Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Colorado, Best Building, Silver
2013 Design-Build Institute of America (National) Project Award, Honor Award, Civic Buildings
Meet Our Team

Rachel Bannon-Godfrey, Senior Principal, Discipline Leader – Sustainability (Buildings)

Sustainable design is a vague and undefined term, but that doesn’t mean our approach to it can be.
Rachel Bannon-Godfrey Senior Principal, Discipline Leader – Sustainability (Buildings) Read More

Rachel Fitzgerald , Senior Associate, Discipline Lead, Lighting

I love that my work blends science and technology with design and experience.
Rachel Fitzgerald Senior Associate, Discipline Lead, Lighting Read More

Josh Gould, Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Buildings

I’m passionate about making a positive impact on the built environment and work with each client to capture the spirit of a place.
Josh Gould Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Buildings Read More

Rachel Bannon-Godfrey

Senior Principal, Discipline Leader – Sustainability (Buildings)

Rachel Fitzgerald

Senior Associate, Discipline Lead, Lighting

Josh Gould

Senior Vice President, Business Leader, Buildings

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