Mike Kramer, senior director of construction for the Whole Foods Rocky Mountain Regional Support Office, has worked with the design firm on various Whole Foods store remodel projects, as well as new store development and special projects throughout the region. Kramer says that CSHQA�s insight and expertise, particularly in the area of 3-D modeling, has revolutionized the way Whole Foods does business.
“The Q” has a “great way of balancing sound design with the cost,” says Kramer, using the nickname his team has given the firm. “And their team has a great ability to keep up with changes,” he adds.
Kramer says that Whole Foods and CSHQA are working together on six to eight projects at any given time, including a complex expansion to the Boulder, Colo., flagship store that will be completed in 2011.Shades of Green
The new Whole Foods store in Centennial, Colo., designed by CSHQA and opened in June 2009, recently received Green Globe certification from the Green Building Initiative for its sustainable design and energy efficiency.
“The concept of LEED shows up in all of our designs,” Kalousek says.
He says CSHQA encourages its staff to become LEED certified, and sustainable concepts are embedded into every studio.
CSHQA has been a leader in energy efficiency since the 1970s. However, when asked about the firm’s LEED division, Shneider deadpans that the firm doesn’t have one because at CSHQA, “it’s simply called good design.”
Kalousek adds: “Even if the client isn’t looking for a sustainable building, we’re poised to look for this by default. Most, if not all, of our projects qualify for this in some way.”
In 1985, before the terms sustainable design and LEED became buzzwords, the firm received international acclaim for building the energy-efficient Liberty Elementary School in Boise.
Retired partner Neil Smull, the ‘S’ in CSHQA, says the Liberty project introduced energy-saving concepts such as solar energy and controllable electronics that took advantage of daylighting. The revolutionary design also entailed berming the earth up to the windowsills to conserve energy needed for heating and cooling the building.
A few years earlier, Smull received recognition for Boise’s Amity Elementary School, which appeared on a 1979 cover of Time for its forward-thinking design. This earth-covered school is situated above ground but covered by 2 ft of earth with lawn and shrubs growing on top. Solar panels and other energy-efficient elements were also included in the design.
“We’re not jumping on the green bandwagon,” says Kent Hanway, CSHQA’s executive vice president. “It has been integrated into our practice for years, as a [normal] course of business.”
CSHQA’s newly completed Mulvaney Medical Office building in Boise is currently pending LEED Gold certification, and the Ada County Civic Plaza tenant improvement project in Boise recently received LEED Gold.Design That Speaks
“We stress that we are people who listen; design that speaks,” Kalousek says. “It’s the client’s project, not a monument to us, so we work hard to accomplish the client’s vision.”
Kevin Meikle, planning and engineering manager for the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, adds, “It’s really about their people.”
Meikle, who is also an architect and has been working in the design industry for more than 30 years, says that during the airport’s six-year relationship with CSHQA, the design firm assembled a team of professionals who were “exactly the right fit for our project.”
The $15-million project included doubling the capacity of the baggage-claim facility, creating a new security checkpoint and rebuilding the ticketing wing from scratch while keeping the facility fully operational.