Merit - Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus

University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder 2021 Campus Master Plan
University of Colorado Boulder - The University of Colorado Boulder 2021 Campus Master Plan
Jury Comments
““. . . I like the analysis and all the different layers and lenses, and the fact that its three campuses . . . masterfully handles what seems a wealth of data and synthesizes same into a concise plan for three distinctly different campuses . . .””


    • Site – 600 acres; Building – 13 million gsf
    • Future development will support access to student life and student services on each campus.
    • Future housing integrates living, learning, and student service spaces to provide a more holistic experience.
    • Space needs are based on use, not siloed by academic division.
    • The plan increases housing from 10,000 total beds (~28% of all students) to 16,000 total beds (~40%) over 30 years based on expected enrollment growth.
    • East Campus transforms from a single-use district to a vibrant mixed-use district.
    • The plan transforms North Boulder Creek into an active student-centric district linked to nature.


The University of Colorado Boulder Campus Master Plan (CMP) provides a rational framework for the development of this multi-campus institution (Main Campus, North Boulder Creek, East Campus, and Williams Village). While each campus has a unique physical context and, to some degree, programmatic thrust, the 30-year CMP presents an opportunity to also consider how the campuses operate as a cohesive system, particularly as growth continues to be distributed yet interdisciplinary collaboration and proximity is of increasing relevance. The series of creeks and tributaries serve as the connecting elements within and between campus landholdings.

The university’s strategic plan articulates a vision for the university to be a leader in addressing the humanitarian, social, and technological challenges of the 21st century. Accordingly, the CMP touches the full spectrum of university activity: academics and research, residential life, wellness, open space, mobility, infrastructure, and sustainability. In addition
to the strategic plan, the CMP integrates with various planning initiatives that preceded and informed it: housing, transportation, and energy master plans.

The CMP enhances connectivity within and between campuses by developing a system of open spaces on each campus and by anchoring new development around open spaces. These open spaces include a rich array of typologies to support a range of activity, including quads , courtyards, plazas, passive recreation, formal athletics and recreation, landscape corridors, and ecological zones.

The plan promotes pedestrian circulation by aligning major corridors of connectivity along the open space network and by creating a series of new campus gateways. Each gateway connects the periphery of campus to an enhanced core campus pedestrian experience. This improved pedestrian experience aids campus wayfinding through visual cues, site lines, and directive landscapes.

A custom phasing and implementation tool provides ongoing support to allow university users to sort and shuffle projects based on expected funding. It is linked to an interactive map to demonstrate how physical campus development relates to funding and phasing decisions. The tool also includes an impact dashboard to summarize how the phasing of each project relates to changes in built area, program mix, and space needs. Users can save a phasing “scenario” to share with their colleagues as well as export spreadsheets and image files that can be shared with university leadership.

Project Team

Sasaki; Dharam Consulting; AEI Consultants