Perched high atop a mesa over looking Boulder sits the Mesa Laboratory, Ieoh Ming Pei’s headquarters of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This is the story of the Mesa Laboratory, its design, construction, and importance to the study of the atmosphere and our Earth. This online exhibit traces the beginning of NCAR and its iconic Mesa Laboratory through original photographs, documents, films, and oral history interviews.

View the Mesa Lab construction timeline

Walter Orr Roberts talks with I.M. Pei at the dedication of the Mesa Lab in 1967. (UCAR Digital Image Library #DI02085)

Viewed from the air, the Mesa Laboratory headquarters of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and its extensive horseshoe-shaped parking areas (UCAR Digital Image Library)

UCAR trustees visiting the construction site of the Mesa Lab in 1964. (UCAR Digital Image Library #DI02087)

Construction site of the Mesa Laboratory, the laboratory was completed in 1966.(UCAR Digital Image Library #DI01746)


An early conceptual drawing of the headquarters of NCAR, circa 1962-1964. (NCAR Archives, Mesa Laboratory Construction Records)