AIA Colorado hosted an open house on June 28 to showcase its much-larger and way-improved new digs on East 17th Avenue in Denver. Staff moved into the space at 303 E. 17th Ave. in February but finishes and final details weren’t completed until early June.
The office’s roomy uptown location—at nearly 2,400 sq ft—is 900 sq ft larger than the cramped downtown Denver “storefront space” the association occupied for nearly 10 years. A rate increase at the 15th and Arapahoe location precipitated the move, but AIA Colorado says the main goal of the relocation was better service for its members while maintaining an urban presence in a space that offers high public visibility, more meeting and event rooms, and better parking options, among other amenities. Also, AIA Colorado says the new space addresses the needs of members voiced during a 2010 new office options survey. The 17th Avenue office will be the association’s home until at least 2021 and is an important piece in the local chapter’s preparations to host the national AIA conference in Denver next June.
Aspen-based firm Studio B Architects and Denver’s Hutton Architecture Studio served as the architectural team overseeing design and build-out of the new office. Scott Lindenau, design principal with Studio B Architects, says the team, which also included The Weitz Co. as general contractor, had to completely gut the interior of the new space, which was occupied mostly by cubicles, and “opened it up considerably,” allowing natural light to flood the interior from the east and south, and created more private offices. All staff offices are two times the size of their previous ones and there are twice as many.
The new AIA space features a much-bigger kitchen, more storage, a large reception and exhibit area framed by a gray acoustical wall made of recycled plastic straws and most importantly, two conference rooms—a small-group one and the large main conference area that can be divided into two rooms using a sliding door. Recycled and green materials were installed throughout the office.
Lindenau says the mechanical, electrical and audio-visual systems can all be run using new integrated controls accessed through iPad panels (provided by ESC, Aspen) that allow for maximum flexibility and cost savings. All renovations were achieved for $42 per sq ft, with more than $200,000 in donated time, services and products. “It took some monumental coordination to work with all of those contributors, but we’re pleased with the results and the (AIA) staff is thrilled,” he says.
Dozens of industry firms from several disciplines donated money and skills to the project, including BCER Consulting Engineers, Stone Bridge Partners LLC and 186 Lighting. The selection process for the project team followed guidelines set forth by QBS Colorado.