Brighton, Colorado

Barr Lake Nature Center Expansion

As the only state park in Colorado with a nature center, Barr Lake is situated along a migratory bird flyway and is home to a majority of the state’s bird species. The park’s original nature center, built in 1982, was aging quickly and needed a renovation to add more space for events, educational programs and support areas—all while remaining open during construction. Because of the park’s location, Cuningham had to delicately consider many constraints to expansion, including the preservation of bird watching areas, a septic field, a geo-exchange field, and nature walks.

Cuningham’s design for the renovated space visually reflects the building’s original wood-framed structure. The addition uses a similar steep pitch roof, while a new front porch extends in front, creating a welcoming and unified appearance. The expansion includes a dedicated community gathering space, new building entry, reception, and attached toilet facilities. Additionally, the Discover Room was expanded to provide a discrete educational space with an updated exhibit experience.

Client: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Studio: Grow

Market: Civic

Size: 5,700 Square Feet

Scope: Renovation, Addition

Delivery Method: Negotiated Contract

Key Project Contacts: