The definition speaks directly to the goals of the CSU Hydro building; a place at the National Western Center to slow down and think about how we use water in the west. CSU is “disrupting” the normal way of thinking to help us use water more wisely.
A calm spot in the river where the water is moving in the opposite direction from the main flow. An eddy forms behind a force that disrupts the surface flow.
Hydro is Greek for water. Water is the source of all life, and as a headwaters state, Colorado’s water footprint impacts millions of people in multiple states and Mexico. Water flows much like culture — blurring physical barriers, creating life wherever it reaches, reaching far beyond its origins. Hydro resides on the CSU Spur campus in Denver, Colorado. CSU SPUR is a free educational year-round public destination in Denver focused on engaging PreK-12 students, families, and visitors around food, water, and health. As a non-degree granting campus, CSU SPUR showcases the work of the CSU System campuses: CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global. To inspire students and visitors to engage in important world issues, CSU Spur will bring together scientists to collaborate, put science on-display, and showcase career paths.
location of site
Everyone has a dependency on water and Colorado's water supply is dwindling! Growing populations are increasing the demand on the state's water supply while climate change is reducing future flows. In order for Colorado to continue to meet the agricultural and growing population needs, it will be necessary to conserve nearly a million acre-feet of water annually. The CSU Hydro building is dedicated to teaching visitors about water conservation through educational exhibits, views into professional scientific research laboratories, and a backyard design that tells the story of Colorado as the only Headwater state in the Continental United States.
The Hydro building footprint covers a majority of the property, though the site was designed to maximize outdoor space. The prominent "Backyard" educates visitors about Colorado's four major watersheds, situated on the east and west sides of a bermed "Continental Divide." Adjacent to the South Platte River, the site of the Hydro building draws a direct visual connection to its own local watershed.
grey water reuse
fitler + clean
Watershed Inspired landscape
Hord Coplan Macht, 2023
less water used
less electricity used
of water saved each day
METRIC TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE
saved through reuse of the historic McConell Welders Building
This is equivalent to the emissions of 85 cars driven for ONE year.
Roof Deck Square
Hydro will be a calm place in the CSU Spur at the National Western Center where visitors are welcome to slow down and think/learn about water, water conservation and the importance of water in our lives.
Inspired by the cross section of an eddy, the Water Building's design incorporates a 2-tone perforated metal building scrim to showcase water. The scrim flows from the ground across the building defining entries and framing views into the entry lobby and educational landscape of the “backyard”.
Hydro utilizes a sophisticated material palette that capitalizes on textures to create a play of light and shadow on the building. A metal building scrim springs from the ground like a river at the front door and flows along Bettie Cram into the backyard and down National Western Drive to the "activated alley" at McConnell. The water-inspired scrim is comprised of two perforated metal materials. Transparency into and out of the building is important, and attention was given to framing views toward the Grand Plaza and the backyard through and around the scrim.
The CSU Hydro Building is located at the National Western Center in the heart of the Innovation Campus Character Area. This high-performance building utilizes the corner of Bettie Cram and National Western Drives as an opportunity to activate the surrounding streets and plazas with a poetic exploration of water-inspired architecture. The building design is a dynamic exploration of water movement using contemporary materials that are designed to create ever-fluid shadows on and in the building.
compared to typical fixtures that average 1.6 GALLONS of water per flush.
The Hydro Building is a high-performance facility from its building envelope and energy-efficient mechanical system to its innovative form. Denver is a growing modern city with a deep history and the Hydro Building respects the past with its respectful integration of McConnell while looking toward the future in its form, ingenuity, and material use.
Green Roof was identified for the CSU Hydro building to support CSU research
The four major watersheds of Colorado inspired the backyard design through form, educational experiences, and native and adaptive low water plantings representative of the different watersheds.
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The South Platte River flows through the most populous and agriculturally intensive area of Colorado serving Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Historically, it did not flow year-round, but diversions from the Colorado and Arkansas River basins have increased flows by 49%. Downstream, the South Platte meets up with the North Platte to feed into the Platte River and eventually the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Occupying the largest river basin in Colorado, the Arkansas River is famous for providing recreation opportunities to boaters and anglers which heavily contribute to the region’s economic success. Downriver, the Arkansas supplies Colorado Springs and Pueblo, eventually flowing to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri culminating in the Mississippi River.
The Rio Grande River serves an economy primarily driven by agriculture where 99% of the water is designated for irrigation since the average annual precipitation is less than 8 inches. These headwaters flow to New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Despite producing the largest volume of water, the Colorado River is the most threatened in the United States. A major portion of the water supply is diverted through pipelines to the eastern side of Colorado where 85% of the state’s population lives. Downstream, the river serves Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico.
The CSU Hydro Building and CSU Terra Building are connected via a bridge over National Western Drive. The two buildings share an energy-efficient mechanical system that will connect to the Campus Utility Plant (CUP). The Water building will house a majority of the roof-mounted systems including the chiller plant and two air-handling units.
filter + clean
grey water reuse