21 October 2011 • “It is certainly a nice honor, and I’m not going to refuse it,” said Rick Anthes before cutting the ribbon to officially open the building named after him. On 3 October, the UCAR president—who steps down from his post in January after 23 years—joined the UCAR Board of Trustees at a reception to toast the successful remodeling of the Anthes Building.
The name was chosen by trustees last year to honor Anthes’ longtime service to UCAR. Located near the institution’s Foothills campus, the building has been occupied since August by about 130 staff, mostly from UCAR Community Programs, whose own home across the street is being revamped. In 2012, NCAR’s Research Applications Program will make the Anthes Building its permanent home.
The building (abbreviated in-house as FLA) embodies two principles espoused by Anthes throughout his tenure: environmental awareness and cost-effectiveness. The remodel is set to earn a LEED rating of Gold or perhaps even Platinum—the highest possible—from the U.S. Green Building Council. On top of the long-term energy savings to come, UCAR funded the FLA renovation with tax-exempt municipal bonds, a very favorable funding source that is lowest-cost financing available in the public sector.
FLA was constructed in 1980 for Cray Computing, which had sold its first production-model supercomputer to NCAR only a few years before. The building’s gentle curve echoed the shape of the Cray 1-A, a stylish, long-retired machine now located in the basement of the Mesa Lab. The FLA redesign kept the exterior of the original building and its 2000 addition largely intact.
“I think it’s very significant that the cultural and historical legacy of the building will live on,” said David Pfeifer, a principal with AndersonMasonDale Architects, the Denver firm that carried out the FLA remodel. Pfeifer praised the decision to retrofit an existing building rather than starting anew, and he signaled his appreciation for the smoothness of the remodel process, including the usual midcourse corrections.
“Scientists are wonderful clients,” said Pfeifer. “When presented with specific data, they’ll actually change their minds.”
Though the Cray building’s architecture denoted progress, its low-efficiency aspects were a sign of the energy-guzzling 1980s. Today—with the help of newly installed geothermal heating and cooling, roof-mounted solar panels, and well-calibrated lighting systems, among other green boosts—FLA consumes roughly a third of the energy of a typical U.S. office building of its size.
The 3 October ceremony honored Anthes as well as his namesake building. Tributes came from Boulder mayor Susan Osborne and from Dennis Hartmann (University of Washington), president of the UCAR Board of Trustees. Hartmann saluted Anthes’ “mercurial rise” through the ranks in the 1980s, from staff scientist to division director and NCAR director before taking the reins of UCAR in 1988. “His long tenure testifies to the confidence placed in him by the staff, the community, and the National Science Foundation,” said Hartmann.
On the Web
A slideshow of images from the Anthes building dedication and the subsequent October meetings
Inside the Anthes Building (Staff Notes, Sept/Oct 2011)