About Stantec

Balancing innovation and creativity with strong, grounded science and engineering practices, Stantec is a team of architects, designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers passionate about the relationship between our natural and built environments. Combining local strength, knowledge, and relationships with world-class expertise, their environment team connects to projects on a personal level and collaborates with communities across the globe. Their vision is to shape better communities through architecture. Their strategy to achieve this focuses on four crucial value generators: people, innovation, excellence, and growth.

Denver Water Operations Complex Redevelopment

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Denver Water Operations Complex _©https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/united-states-projects/d/denver-water-operations-complex-redevelopment

Design Intent 

The oldest and largest supplier of potable water in Colorado, Denver Water is a 34.6-acre complex on W. 12th Avenue in Colorado. Conducting operations at the site since 1881. But the buildings had become outmoded and inadequate to support the future water service demands. This is when Stantec came in to redevelop the site to improve its efficiency, functionality, security, and safety of all operations – with sustainability as a major element of the redevelopment. Demolishing 15 functionally obsolete buildings, construction of four industrial-use buildings, the Administration Building, a Wellness Building, a three-story parking garage, and renovation of two legacy buildings were taken care of and were awarded Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels of LEED certification. LEED certification, developed by U.S. Green Building Council, stands for Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and is an international symbol of excellence. After nearly a decade of ideation, planning, and construction, the project was completed in November 2019.

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Administration Building on site _©https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/united-states-projects/d/denver-water-operations-complex-redevelopment

The six-story, 186,000-square-foot, post-tension constructed administration building located at the centre of the campus is long and thin, evoking a slot canyon sculpted by the natural flow of water. The building is LEED-NC Platinum certified and Net Zero Energy. It maximises the use of daylight and natural ventilation, fostering the creation of 21st-century work environments. It features a range of open-plan workspaces with a capacity of 750 people for small to large teams with enclosure levels according to the level of privacy required. The inviting grand staircase provides a view of the campus, promoting employee interaction and physical activity. For the health and well-being of employees – efficiency of movement, adjacency, and workflow is considered, along with safety, security, and field administration integration. Mimicking the pattern of stones skimming on water surfaces, the ambient lighting, and acoustical baffle layouts throughout, reference to flowing water.

Sustainable features | Denver Water

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View inside Administration Building _©https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/united-states-projects/d/denver-water-operations-complex-redevelopment

Denver Water Operations complex by Stantec demonstrates the use of low water landscape, bioswales, wetlands for water quality control, and low flow water sense labelled fixtures. As a part of the building’s grey and black water recycling system (WRS), the lobby in the administration building holds a series of polishing wetland containers. Though they look to be very large indoor planted areas filled with natural species, it cleans all of the building’s grey and black water for reuse in the restrooms and for irrigation.

For superior insulation, solar control, and low water and air infiltration, all the windows have triple pane glazing- a combination of curtain walls and a glazing system. The wall cladding is an air-infiltrated metal panel system (even behind the masonry cladding) and a combined radiant post-tensioned floor structure combined with an underflow air system for fresh air and low insulation. These systems reduce pressure on mechanical and electrical systems. The onsite solar and biophilia design also prove to be beneficial.

One Water Education

One of the revolutionary features is the One Water concept which promotes high-volume rainwater capture and on-site wastewater treatment and recycling for irrigation and flushing. This system is displayed to the public via an array of informational signage and graphics for creating awareness. “Denver Water has long been a sustainability leader and demonstrated their commitment through the entire complex,” said Josh Gould, senior vice president of Stantec. The rainwater collected from the roof is stored in a 50,000-gallon cluster of exterior below-grade cisterns. Raw wastewater from the administration building flows through a buried Multi stage Treatment Unit (MSTU) to provide flow equalisation. Clarified effluent is pumped to the three-stage wetland process. Stage 1 creates anoxic and aerobic environments for nutrient removal; stage 2 provides supplemental nitrogen removal, and stage 3 provides final polishing. The water from this onsite wastewater recycling system is stored in 25,000 gallons below grade cluster of cisterns. Together they feed the building’s irrigation system, providing 100% of the landscape needs for the Administration Building and its adjacent campus green – a total coverage area of nearly half of the complex’s 36-acre site.

With a vision that Stantec looked at, this project awarded them with multiple credentials. They were honoured with a Platinum Award from the Building Design + Construction 2021 Building Team Awards, a 2021 Merit Award for Energy & Environmental Lighting Design from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and a 2021 National Grand Conceptor Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). Completing on an affordable budget, adjusting and adapting to a two-phase, four-year construction while maintaining full operations on-site and not hampering occupant wellness was a challenge courageously handled by Stantec. The complex, designed with passion, has been successfully sending and conserving water to millions of Coloradans in the metropolitan area ever since.

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View at the entrance of the Administration building at the Denver Water Operations complex. _©https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/united-states-projects/d/denver-water-operations-complex-redevelopment

References: Denver Water

  1. Thornton, T (2019) Let it rain: A holistic plan for water use and reuse in a sustainable building. Available at:


  1. Weckerling,E(2020) Denver Water: A Holistic Design for First-of-its-Kind Water Reuse Initiative by Stantec. Available at: https://www.workdesign.com/2020/08/denver-water-a-holistic-design-for-first-of-its-kind-water-reuse-initiative-by-stantec/

3.Schwirck, S. (2021) Water Power. Available from: https://www.ies.org/lda-magazine/featured-content/water-power

4.Stantec.com. (2022). Company Overview Available from: https://www.stantec.com/en/about

  1. Online sources

Citations for websites:

Stantec Inc (2013). Denver Water Operations Complex Redevelopment – Stantec[online].Available at: https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/united-states-projects/d/denver-water-operations-complex-redevelopment [Accessed 16 March 2023]

  1. Images/visual mediums

Citations for images/photographs – Online:

Stantec Inc (2013). Denver Water Operations Complex Redevelopment – Stantec[online]. Available at:




Ishwari is a budding Architect who loves to explore spaces , cultures, and people. With the countless stories they express, she wishes to unfold them through her writings.