Some folks at the 2013 AIA Convention in Denver, which wrapped up this weekend, were lucky enough to tour the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which was designed by I.M. Pei, FAIA, and completed in 1967. But for those who missed it, ARCHITECT has a look back at this local landmark. Documented by Ezra Stoller, founder of Esto Photography, NCAR—the 1997 winner of AIA Colorado’s 25 Year Award—blends into its surroundings with vertical concrete forms composed of local sandstone aggregate set against a backdrop of the Flatirons portion of the Rocky Mountains. After winding up a mile-long driveway that was designed to preserve the site’s natural features, visitors arrive at the Walter Orr Roberts Mesa, named after the first director of NCAR. The 214,500-square-foot center’s mass is formed by two clusters of towers, linked by underground basements, set atop a 28-acre mesa with crow’s nest views across the 530-acre public preserve within which it resides. Within the center, research laboratories for up to 500 scientists ring a central core of shared facilities.

To see more of Esto's collection online, please visit, or visit ARCHITECT’s collection of Esto Galleries.