Architecture: A Pueblo for Highbrows

Just south of Boulder, Colo., at the junction of the Great Plains and the Rockies, stands 600-ft.-high Table Mountain, a grassy mesa populated until recently largely by deer, summer hikers and an occasional coyote. Now, through the clear, crisp air, Boulderites daily behold a new sight on Table Mountain: a taut, pure compound of rusty pink cylinders and cubes that soars skyward above them.

The new citadel is the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Built for the National Science Foundation and designed by New York's leoh Ming Pei, 50, it will house 400 meteorologists, atmospheric chemists, astronomers, air-pollution experts and...

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