... quality of the people was the biggest attraction for me. You feel like you can ask questions. They’re not behind closed doors.”
The spirit of camaraderie and collaboration means that each project is an opportunity to better understand and thereby serve the client. To that end, RTA always begins with in-depth research into local history, culture, flora, fauna, geography and so on. Interesting facts or motifs are shared with the client and often inform design.
Innovation is enthusiastically embraced but tempered with an awareness of what most benefits the client. “It really energizes me, working with an intimate understanding of how they do their business and how I can help them do it better,” Hoelscher says.
Business development manager Amy Fortier adds, “All our architects really plug into the way our clients work.”
Justin Cooper, director of project development for G.E. Johnson Construction of Colorado Springs, illustrates RTA’s dedication to client service and teamwork. Cooper, who worked on the St. Francis Medical Center, says, “RTA always has a can-do attitude.”
He says the client’s targeted opening date required a condensed schedule—24 months for construction and a budget that allowed for no extra shifts. RTA accommodated this by agreeing not only to shortened but also overlapping schedules, which started construction even during schematic design.Cooper says the team never doubted that it would finish the project on time and within budget. “There was a faith-based trust that our two teams could accomplish this,” he adds.
Numerous awards testify to RTA Architecture’s position as a regional design leader. For example, the $271-million, 458,000-sq-ft St. Francis Medical Center won a McGraw-Hill 2008 Gold Hard Hat Award, a 2009 American Society of Interior Designers Colorado first-place award and a 2009 Award of Excellence from the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute.
The project at Sister Ruth Anne Panning Financial Center at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, which turned a laundry facility into sustainable office spaces, won the 2007 AIA Colorado Merit Award and the 2007 AIA Colorado South Honor Award, as well as the 2007 ASID Colorado Adaptive Reuse/Renovation Award.
Still, there is more work to be done. As Lewis says, “I look forward to every day seeing how we can work together and get better.”