The Colorado Army National Guard Readiness Center (COARNG), designed by RB+B Architects, opened in Windsor, Colo. in September of last year, and has become the first Army National Guard facility in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum status. The center houses and serves the 1157th Forward Support Company with a variety of amenities, including
an assembly hall, classrooms, a learning center, a kitchen, weapons vaults and more, all of which support the Guard’s mission of protecting and serving Colorado’s citizens.
While you might expect the design of a military installation like this to be a top-down affair, the process for COARNG was remarkably collaborative, channeling the military’s famed sense of camaraderie. The team from RB+B solicited feedback from facility staff, user groups, key community members and additional stakeholders over the course of several charrettes, and used that information to steer the direction of the final design. For example, they learned that users wanted the interiors to honor broader military traditions, while also creating a sense of pride for the unit. In response, designers created the Honor Wall, which celebrates the Guard’s role in World War II through large-scale graphics and photography.
Designers also had to account for COARNG’s unique functional requirements; full-time soldiers occupy the building’s classrooms during normal business hours, while the remainder of the facility operates only on “drill weekends,” which are held once a month for 127 soldiers in training. Careful zoning was needed to achieve the most efficient flow in the interiors, as well as incorporate all of the necessary physical security measures for the facility, including maximum stand-off distances from roads, property lines and parking areas.
The building is oriented to provide maximum daylighting ability, and only occupied areas are air-conditioned. Photovoltaic arrays on the roof will produce an estimated 63,000 kWh annually.