National Renewable Energy Laboratory Cafe

Golden, Colorado

Efficient and economical, this full-service dining facility duel functions as a multi-purpose space for off-hour gatherings.


US Department of Energy (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Project Size

12,000 sf

Building Performance

LEED-NC Platinum


Honor Award - Civic Building, Design-Build Institute of America

Best Building Project Under $10M - Silver, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Colorado

Professional Services

Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Lighting Design
Master Planning

At 12,000 square feet, the Café is the first full-service dining facility to be built on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s campus in Golden, Colorado. The Café can accommodate 240 guests at any given time, with the balcony and north terrace providing additional seating for 70-plus people. Use of the dining facility will be staggered to accommodate all campus employees while promoting the efficient and economical use of the dining hall throughout the day. In addition, the facility will also be used as a multi-purpose space for evening and off-hour gatherings.

Centrally located between the campus’s new garage and the net zero energy designed Research Support Facility office building, the Café offers convenience while embracing and celebrating the surrounding mesa environment and providing views of the arroyo. Located on the campus’s main pedestrian mall, the facility’s primary entrance is marked by a stairway, with sunlit spaces and casual seating, as well as a gabled roof; both of these features reflect the campus’s existing architecture.

Upon entering the Café, visitors encounter high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. The overall furniture plan works to ebb and flow with the variety of staff using the space. The interior dining area provides flexibility with furnishings that accommodate a single guest stopping in for a quick breakfast or a group meeting for lunch.