A really interesting infographic showing clearly the "costs" of different materials. A note to ourselves as architects on a great way to prioritize material selections!
It is exciting to see the park at the Boulder Civic Area open and active after years of planning and design. It is an engaging and dynamic space that encourages discovery of the creek, quiet reflection and gathering of all sizes. The bridge creates a strong central element for organization and way-finding. It was great to work with Erik Prince of Tom Leader and Brian Dale of Sort Studio on the overall planning, urban design and the bridge.
I went to an engaging presentation last week at the Denver Art Museum facilitated by ULI about raising the bar for design in Denver. There was much discussion about the pace of development in the region and how we are building the city NOW. This creates a particular urgency to build with quality given the changes that are occurring in all of Denver's neighborhoods. But what is quality? Who decides? What is good design? Isn't it just all subjective anyway?
Brad Buchanan, the City's Planning Director rightly put much of the blame on the applicants - the developers and architects who are creating the new projects. I agree with this and feel we must put the responsibility on architects (and their clients) to raise the bar. We can educate and lead our clients, the community, and the city to expect, demand, and desire compelling design. It is the architect's job to balance the competing interests of any project and show the way forward to excellence. We can help create a design culture in the city where there becomes an expectation of design excellence.
Which of course can lead to Design Review. In the ULI event this was mentioned as one solution to help in, Brad's words, "avoids the D's and F's". As a member of the University of Colorado Design Review Board and longtime member of the Belmar Review Board (Architectural Control Committee) I have had some experience with this. Design Review can do more than avoid the worst. At its best it can be a high level peer review that provides an important critique of the work presented. A standing board knows the context better than the applicant and also know the history of the past, present and future projects in that district to create an important dialogue between sites that a single building architect may not have. Too often, the architect is focused on the multiple demands placed on her: budget, program, schedule, City requirements, etc. which can force a diluted focus on the design and the setting. Design Review can help re-focus a project on critical site-specific issues. This is especially true when there is a national chain (think hotel or senior living) involved. A big remaining question though is WHERE (and how) should Design Review be implemented.
This is a critical issue as the region grows. High quality design can be a silver lining for those wary (and weary) of growth. If we can use growth to make our cities and neighborhoods more beautiful, memorable, and inclusive then we can rightly say that it was worth it.
August 2017: The Harley Davidson Dealership we designed in Parker had its Grand Opening last weekend August 5. On August 3 was the Ribbon Breaking with a Harley riding through the ribbon, of course. It is exciting to see this new approach to transforming an old shopping center and use of parametric design to create a place that is truly unique and give the place a special identity associated with the freedom and experience of riding a Harley!
November 2016: re:architecture is working with Mile High Early Childhood Center in Denver on a new strategic vision of their new home.
January 2017: re:architecture is working with the City of Boulder to study options for a new market hall to activate the Civic Area in downtown Boulder.
It was a big week for the Alpine Balsam redevelopment with the City. Last Thursday we held our first public event and got lots of great ideas from the community form visions and big ideas to what people feel is both important to the neighborhood and missing. On Monday we had an Eco-District Charrette which had more than 80 people from City staff to boards and commissions to participants in the Eco-District conference in Denver. Some great ideas were uncovered from this talented group. Eco-District is a powerful approach to sustainable neighborhoods. Unlike LEED it does not start with the answer but goes through a process to determine priorities and approaches to sustainability that are appropriate to a specific project. Importantly, includes equity as a critical component to the sustainability approach. Tuesday and Wednesday I attended the Eco-District conference in Denver with powerful presentations form around the country on some of the best practices and challenges to these approached. I was also inspired by the committment to integrate equity, sustainability and resilience that is at the heart of the eco-district philosophy. With these the Charrette and Community Visioning events completed, we have some incredible information to start a deeper conversation with the City and the neighborhood about a vision for the property and the district. I am excited to be collaborating with Mithun on this important City project. Stay tuned for the evolution.
The Longmont City Council Approved the re-zoning of the Bohn Farm Project on Tuesday, May 24. The approval allows all the key aspects of the project to proceed including higher density housing, the non-residential space, the .85 acre park, which supports a 2 acre CSA farm on the property as well. The approval allows the project to move into the more detailed design phase. See this link for the article in the Daily Camera.
This is an interesting project in Amsterdam that both respects and transforms a traditional setting. This would be provocative in places like downtown Boulder and LoDo in Denver that have a rich tradition of brick. click here for the YouTube Video.
The Boulder City Council reviewed the Civic Area work and the project is proceeding! The park should break ground in the summer. re:architecture completed a comprehensive analysis of the flood implications on re-development in the area. We discovered interesting opportunities to couple an attitude of resilience with approaches of redevelopment. The next steps include studying a new Market Hall for the East Bookend near the Teahouse which could be a transformative project for Boulder, building on our foodie culture and the success of the Farmer's Market. We are also assisting Tom Leader Studio of Berkeley on the design of the new 11th. St. Bridge.
Here is a link to the complete memo with our work: City Council Memo
The City of Boulder Planning Board approved the James Shared Use project last Thursday night 6-1. It was a momentous night after 14 months of hard work collaborating with our client Element Properties to create a true integration of community and design: where both support each other. The Board was very positive about the design and aspects of the project that will inject real diversity in to the downtown. Interestingly some on the board felt a more contemporary architectural approach was warranted given the location in opposition to the more historicist interpretation that the Boulder Design Advisory Board was championing. That will be on on-going discussion.
the experience of being in the air and zooming through and over a place ... the bicycle highline! [video width="640" height="480" mp4="http://www.re-architecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/P1070329.mp4"][/video]
cykelslangen! Eight years in the making.
The bike culture is intense in Copenhagen. A complete bike infrastructure and flat terrain makes biking easy, safe and something EVERYONE does. I have seen a cargo bike with 4 young kids in it, a conservative man in traditional muslim clothing, women in spike heels, men in suits, and everything in between. As my colleague here said people imagine it like a vacuum cleaner: no gear needed to vacuum the house, just another tool you use in life. Bikes on trains, dedicated bike lanes throughout, a clear set of rules, and a compact city make it all work so that more than 50% of the the city is on bikes. Some main thoroughfares into the city have 35,000 bikes per day - more bikes than cars!! A new bike share is starting (white bikes) that is an e-bike with a built in tablet - high tech. Driving is a real hassle especially in the center city but biking is a joy keeping people healthy, fit, and on time. Even on the open roads outside the city there is a dedicated lane. Here are a few greatest hits:
I arrived in Copenhagen with 14 students from UC Denver and my colleague Leila Tolderlund. She is schooling us in all things Danish as well as her other insights about the built environment. We are biking through the city en masse led by Danish experts in urban design and architecture seeing an amazing mix of old and new. From BIG to small, shared streets to classical churches and always on the bike. Bikes are everywhere - it reminds of China in the old days. The students are excited to start their urban design projects on the site of the old Carlsberg brewery - a historical site that mixed industry with art - which will become a new city district. It is inspiring to be in an environment where design is celebrated and bold - old and new co-exist with experimentation and deep research into what make a place become both inspiring and sustainable. Many more posts to come but here are a few of the greatest hits:
We are excited to announce we have moved to a new home at 2741 Mapleton Ave! What makes this particularly satisfying is it is the first floor of the recently completed renovation of Applied Broadband. so we get to live in a space we created as a creative workspace for AB and experience firsthand all the attributes of the space. It is a great environment and a learning experience!
An interesting article about the future of both http://www.architectmagazine.com/design/suburbs-or-cities-which-is-growing_o.aspx?dfpzone=home&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ANW_052314&day=2014-05-23
Colleague and friend is always innovating and inspiring the next generation. Like the incredible digifab panels he created for our mapleton project. check out the incredible work he is doing with his students at UC Boulder!
A recent journey to Costa Rica brought me face to face with the beautiful reality of a shared street. One bumpy dirt track did it all - cars, atv's, bicycles, dirt bikes, cars, trucks, pedestrians, all shared the space moving at their own pace. Of course the rutted and bumpy road ensured that no ones pace was too fast. Given its closeness to the beach, no one was moving too fast anyway. Don't Worry, Be Happy. The road had restaurants and cafe with outdoor tables, and a place where all modes of travel felt equally at home. The dust though was a real problem - many even wore masks. Patches of paving were beginning to be laid down - a welcome relief to the pervasive dust. Soon it will all be pavement which ironically will make it an even more hospitable place. The informality and the way a road can support all modes of movement, as well as place to meet people, hang out, eat dinner, have drinks,made this not just a road but a place, the place of gathering for Santa Teresa. And only 2 minutes from the beach!
We have been designing a "shared use" project on 14th St. in Boulder for Element Properties and it has hit the press! The project was submitted to the City of Boulder for review with a tentative public hearing of late January 2014.