Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Office Building Modernization

This ten-story facility serves Denver’s Civic and Justice Center. Originally constructed in 1984, GE Johnson completed this major renovation to enhance security and transform it to a high-performing building.
Denver, Colorado
General Services Administration
Tryba Architects


Total Square Feet

Setting the stage for modern office buildings

The Big Picture

The modernization of the building included a high performance green building renovation and modernization upgrade to the 10-story office building. Along with the exterior skin revitalization, each occupied floor was completely renovated to add floor to ceiling space, while also giving a much needed upgrade to interior systems.

In addition to the extensive work done on the office building proper, the adjacent (and badly outdated) parking garage was completely demolished to make room for a new parking structure to serve the facility. The garage is crowned by a 115k Photo-Voltaic solar sculpture. Designed to also add aesthetic value to the garage, the solar sculpture is expected to offset annual energy consumption by 5% and hot water energy use by 30%.

Ingenuity in Action

Once a non-descript federal office building, the Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Office Building was renovated into a state-of-the-art, high-performing “green” building with a LEED Gold certification.  The exterior skin was replaced to include high efficiency glazing.  To accomplish this task and ensure quality, our in-house team detailed a temporary wall system to act as the building’s exterior skin during the replacement of the permanent curtain wall.  

A completely leak-free temporary wall capable of maintaining interior building temperatures that is mobile, reusable, and recyclable was created with 2D and 3D mockups of exterior wall components, as well as temporary partitions clad with ice and water shield and attachment details for installation of the new blast resistant curtain wall system. The innovative temporary panels and attachment details were critical to meeting schedule commitments and maintaining 100% occupancy and operations throughout the project.  After the removal of the existing curtain wall, a high efficiency, state of the art curtain wall system was installed including high efficiency glazing and solar fins to maximize sunlight while fighting passive solar heat gain.

The results for the overall project included dramatic reductions in the number of project RFI’s, cost changes, late design changes, and schedule delays. 


Percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills during the project
Night shift workers on site from 5:30PM to 4:30AM for two years
Percent energy savings with solar PV system on garage that off-sets 5% of energy use
The little details
"The Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Office Building houses 7 federal agencies which could not afford to be put out of commission, or suffer delays due to on-going construction nor could the security of the government agencies be compromised. The team did not seem daunted by this, and we were able to develop a plan to re-skin the building and complete all interior work while our employees still had access and use of the facility. This was certainly not an easy task, but GE Johnson/Tryba worked collaboratively with our GSA Tenant Coordinator, and Cesar Chavez remained open."
Bryan Zach
Project Manager
General Services Administration
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