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National Center for Atmospheric Research

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

The commission to design the National Center for Atmospheric Research was Pei’s greatest opportunity as a newly independent architect. It was also his most difficult challenge as all of his work up to that point had been urban (mostly redevelopment), human-scaled, modernist, and rigorously modular for the efficient and economical repetition of like units. Pei had no experience dealing with the vastness of raw nature in the scale-less Rocky Mountains. At age 44, he needed to “rinse his brain” and start anew.


Site plan / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

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