Denver Police Dept. Crime Laboratory. Image: SmithGroupJJRDenver Police Dept. Crime Lab

Budget: $28,000,000

Size: 60,000 gsf

Project team: SmithGroupJJR, Pheonix, Ariz. (design architect, lab planning, MEP engineering); Durrant (architectect of record); MNA Inc. (structural engineering); S.A. Miro (civil engineering); JE Dunn Construction (GC); GPD Land Design (landscape architect); Iron Horse Architects (interior designer).

Description: Previously confined to 14,000 sf in police headquarters, the Denver Crime Laboratory Bureau lacked sufficient training space and enough room to manage paperwork for up to 16,000 cases per year. The Durrant/SmithGroupJJR team delivered a forensic facility more than five times larger, simultaneously addressing past constraints through careful planning and communication among stakeholders. The larger footprint more appropriately combines services under one roof, elevating communication, coordination and efficiency of lab workflow, ultimately saving the city time and money. Furthermore, the building is designed to last 50 years, incorporating a flexible plan that can easily and cost-effectively react to changes in technology and organizational needs.

The design does more than add space and flexibility, however: It adds unique features such as an elevated catwalk in the photography lab—providing a vertical view of evidence as it is photographed—and a virtual tour feature. A video, which plays in the auditorium, gives a simulated tour through the various areas of the facility including highly secure portions—ensuring protection but not concealment.

Completion date: July 2012

Contact: Vanessa Cornell, Associate, S&T Practice Leader, SmithGroupJJR,