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I.M. Pei's Mesa Lab Design

The Mesa Laboratory, headquarters of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is considered by many to be a modern architectural masterpiece. The NCAR site was designed by world-renowned architect, I. M. Pei.  The construction of the unique concrete and stone building was completed in 1966 with NCAR's primary sponsor, the National Science Foundation, providing the construction funds for the lab.

Pei based his design on an adaptation of the centuries-old Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado.  Usually described as “futuristic,” the Mesa Laboratory also has been compared to a medieval fortress, a Spanish castle, and a modern day Stonehenge. Pei considers the Mesa Laboratory to be one of his personal favorites and a major turning point in his illustrious career.

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Mesa Lab from below