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The Building's Signifigance

The Mesa Laboratory has made its mark on modern architecture. Stylistically, Pei’s building remains impossible to pigeon-hole, while its influence is visible everywhere in the broken, complex geometries of contemporary buildings. The building and its site have captured the public imagination, often appearing in documentaries and futuristic movies, like Sleeper. Above all, the Mesa Laboratory is a unique architectural creation — a building that still appears unique and modern decades after completion.

In 1997, the NCAR Mesa Laboratory received the American Institute of Architects Colorado 25-Year Award for its ability to “withstand the test of time and still function in its original capacity.” Pei sums up the building’s impact neatly. “The shapes have been cribbed time and time again. But the spirit of the NCAR building is in context, in the site.”

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     At right, Woody Allen hurled himself off one of the building’s towers
to escape an infamous future leader in the sci-fi film Sleeper.

Woody Allen in Sleeper hanging from NCAR building