Architectural design firms lining Boulder’s 15th Street Design District are creating more than skylines. They are shaping the way we will live and work in the Boulder-area for decades to come.
And in honor of Architecture Month these firms are inviting the public to engage in the role design plays.
Stephen Sparn, principal architect at Sopher Sparn Architects, LLC, hopes that “by celebrating Colorado Architecture the community will gain a better understanding of design and architecture and why it’s so important in our everyday lives.”
The District Crawl is one of the events being held to celebrate architecture. Held on April 29, the District Crawl is a family-friendly street party featuring live music, food carts, activities for children, and open houses at participating 15th Street Design District firms.
At Sopher Sparn Architects, guests will be invited to “see our space, learn more about who we are and what we’ve been working on,” says Sparn.
To get a glimpse into the latest trends, the Boulder Source was fortunate to catch up with Stephen Sparn and Harvey Hine, president of HMH Architecture + Interiors (HMH).
Sopher Sparn Architects, LLC
When asked about exciting Boulder projects, Sparn reflects on the numerous innovative and modern custom homes the firm designs, in addition to some larger projects underway, such as S’PARK. Short for Sutherlands Park, S’PARK is a vibrant redevelopment of a six-acre site once home to Sutherlands Lumber Company at 3390 Valmont Road.
“We’re excited about S’PARK, a 10-acre LEED ND Platinum modern urban village that comprises 15 buildings totaling 680,000 square feet of office, retail, restaurant and both affordable and market-rate residential space,” he says. Geared toward local businesses and a younger demographic that will be the first of its kind in Boulder, Sparn adds.
Sopher Sparn Architects also created Phase II of Washington Park, a co-housing project planned to accommodate the needs of a lot of age groups, from seniors to young adults and families. Sparn sees co-housing as “a piece of the puzzle” for providing more middle-income housing in Boulder, since it appeals specifically to people who like to live in a cooperative environment.
Current trends in the Boulder area Sparn lists are:
- Contemporary and Modern Architecture and a mixture of styles
- Strong connection between the indoors and outdoors by movable window walls
- Large glass areas due to improved technology
- Natural building products
- Concern with the health, safety and sustainability of building products
- Improved indoor air quality
- Smaller residential units to provide more affordability – micro units for millennials.
- Coop Housing – shared house amongst adults
HMH Architecture + Interiors
Founded in 1989 by Harvey Hine, HMH Architecture + Interiors is described as infusing traditional principles of design with a modern sensibility, creating beautiful, comfortable, well-crafted “Colorado Modern” homes that improve with time.
Smaller, livable spaces that focus on quality are the hallmarks of HMH projects.
Hine says “most of the firm’s project are exciting,” which he attributes to the healthy economy and demand for custom design.
“We do new houses that tend to be scrapes because there’s very little land available. We do remodels and mixed-use, multifamily. We only do modern architecture, which is very popular nowadays and kind of a loose term,” explains Hine.
He describes their work as having very clean lines and typically 3,000 square feet or less. Perhaps a sign of the times, Hine says people ask for big houses much less often today.
“It’s easier to do great architecture on smaller houses. The bigger the house, the more difficult it becomes to do great architecture, particularly with modern. It starts looking industrial when it gets to be a certain size,” says Hine.
He adds that true excitement for him comes when he works with “clients who share our goals and want quality design. The goal is to do a really good house, with quality over quantity. So if there’s a budget we would prefer smaller house, higher quality, and that we find very exciting.”
As for specific projects, Hine mentions a five-unit residential project at 17th & Walnut that is in the early design phase.
And he says the 1800 square foot custom mountain home that is made out of modern materials and dubbed “Modern Mountain Cabin” is very popular. For example, it was included in a cover feature for the winter issue of Modern in Denver magazine. The cover is a custom illustration inspired by a 1950s Better Homes and Gardens cover.
Experiencing Wrightʼs Architecture
Monday, April 25
Boulder Public Library – Canyon Theater
1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
Free, register here.
15th Street Design District Crawl
Presented by the 15th Street Design District.
Friday, April 29
15th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe
Click here for more information.
We are excited to feature the district as our Featured Friend for April – a month in which we focus on design in Boulder. Watch for stories on outstanding design firms in this space all month.