Higher Education

CSU Spur Vida Building - Animal and Human Health at the National Western Center

Denver, CO

CSU Spur, a three-building campus at the National Western Center, is the educational anchor of a 250-acre public center located just north of downtown Denver, Colo. An epicenter of institutional, public, and state collaboration, CSU Spur, once completed, will include a trio of new, state-of-the-art facilities named Vida (life), Terra (earth) and Hydro (water). Vida focuses on the connectivity between human and animal life. Terra brings agriculture to life, allowing people to understand where their food comes from. Hydro examines Colorado’s water footprint and impact on millions of people in multiple regions. Plans for the National Western Center includes both indoor and outdoor space for innovation and research labs, farmers markets, international conferences and outdoor festivals among other activities.

INVISION Architecture served as the national design consultant to Clark & Enersen for Vida, the first of the new CSU Spur buildings to open. The 114,000-square-foot facility is committed to engaging the public through interactive experiences that display the connection between human and animal life. Our team played a vital role in the planning and execution of the small animal hospital and clinic, run and operated by the The Dumb Friends League. This public veterinary hospital at Spur provides donor-subsidized spay and neuter treatment, surgery and medical treatment for underserved pets and feral animals of the greater Denver area. Exam rooms and support spaces were split between public and private areas to allow for public viewing and to maintain efficiency in operations. INVISION implemented elements from the Fear Free Design” concept, combining animal neuroscience and architecture to design a veterinary clinic that aims to lower stress levels and to eliminate the fight or flight response from animals brought into the clinic. In its first year of operation, the DFL served more than 6,000 pets at CSU Spur as it continues to serve the local Denver community and animals in need.

CSU Spur Vida is a public-facing, state-of-the-art facility that highlights the connection between animal and human health. INVISION was integral in the design programming of the building that includes on-display learning and primary care space for animals including dogs and cats among other small companion animals. Special attention was paid to user procession throughout the building to create windows of learning opportunity for the public. The abundant use of glass in Vida’s design creates a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces while inviting visitors to immerse themselves with the building’s interactive experiences. Sustainability was a top consideration during the design process to meet CSU’s desire of becoming a 100 percent renewable facility by 2030 and to attain LEED Certification for the building. Through close collaboration with CSU stakeholders, our team was able to design a facility that provides first-class care for pets and small animals while providing a public space that has the capacity to educate people of all ages.

Other Team Members