Epic Systems Corp.’s Deep Space auditorium was judged best new building over $200 million Thursday by the Associated General Contractors of America, while the contractor that built it, Madison-based JP Cullen, was named the Alliant Build America Grand Award winner.

Located 73 feet underground, the auditorium was designed to blend with the rural landscape via a rock-and-cave-style facade and six acres of green roofing. With 11,400 seats spread over 800,000 square feet, and a 70-by-40-foot screen, the structure took 1,400 employees to build and is bolstered by 33.3 million pounds of steel.

Recognized as the top project out of 22 submissions, the auditorium was entered into AGC’s 2014 national contest because last year was when the two-phase project was finished, said JP Cullen’s Jim Schumacher. The bowl portion opened for use in 2013, but certain meeting rooms and the concourse were completed in 2014.

The Alliant Build America awards honor AGC members in divisions including building, highway and transportation, utility infrastructure, and federal and heavy divisions.

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Karen Rivedal is the education beat reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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