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Good firms in Denver/Boulder.

Jefferson

Any firms you'd recommend I check out? I'm going to be moving there this summer. Preferably a firm that does good design, not just building.

 
Apr 4, 05 5:45 pm
uckitect

I live in Boulder, work in a small residential architecture firm. What type of architecture are you hoping to do ?

Apr 4, 05 7:08 pm  · 
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I worked at David Owen Tryba Architects in Denver as an intern a number of years ago. He was pretty up-and-coming then, and his firm is probably worth a look. They're a good bunch of people over there. Good luck.

Apr 5, 05 11:53 am  · 
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uckitect

DOTA is a good firm, but one of the principals at my firm worked there and she said that it's a Tryba is a bit too full of himself and it can be hard to work for him. However, you would get some great projects and experiences. Check out Bennett Wagner and Grody, Fentress Bradburn, Anderson Mason Dale, Davis Partners or Partnership (they are working with Liebskind on the new Denver Art Museum and other partnerships)...

Apr 5, 05 3:07 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Thanks for the posts...
I am looking to do anything but K-12. Residential would be nice, but so would larger projects like transportation or institutional.

Arhitekt, may I ask what firm in Boulder do you work for? How do you like living and working in Boulder?
I am moving to the Front Range area with my wife, who just got her MBA and is looking for a finance related job. It seems more likely that she'll find something in Denver, but it would be better if she found something in Boulder. We both would prefer to live and work there.
Do you happen to know of any firms/companies in Boulder she might look at? Also, are there neighborhoods you'd recommend in Boulder? I was there recently and really liked the Pearl St. lofts...I figure they are pricey though?
Thanks alot.

Apr 10, 05 4:07 pm  · 
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uckitect

Boulder is an amazing place to live, especially if you're young, love the outdoors, and have an easy going attitude. It's also an island of liberal thought in the midst of Colorado, although Denver is pretty liberal as well, it has nothing on Boulder. It's a beatiful town. It is, because of all these pleasures, the most expensive place to live around here.

I would actually highly recommend living between Boulder and Denver, especially if you and your wife are split between the two towns. You'll some great communities. Lafayette and Louisville are really great sleeper towns. Westminster and Broomfield are bigger, so they have a bit more variety from good to bad, but still great places to live.

For transitioning into town, I would recommend OZ, Boulder Associates and DTJ, although DTJ has a notorious reputation for flactuating in size and laying people off in the process. If you are interested in smaller firms, there are so many that are great. Harvey Hine and Associates and Steven Sparn Associates, are a couple of good ones. In Denver, Pahl Pahl Pahl, is a growing, very interesting firm.

As for your wife, I don't really have enough familiarity in the finanace sector, but I know that she should have no trouble finding something Boulder - there's definatelly money here!


You know, just because of what I said about one of the principals at my firm in the last post, I better not say where I work. Architecture is such a tight knit community, it would be easy to figure out who I'm talking about if someone saw these posts. Silly, but safe :O)

Something to note, although the pay is good, I don't think it compensates for the expense of living in Boulder. You really pay for the lifestyle, which is often worth it if you enjoy it!

Apr 10, 05 5:44 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Hey no prob.
Thanks for the great info. I've been checking out OZ alittle and def. like their work. I'll look into the other firms as well.

Are their good neighborhoods you'd recommend I look into - not near CU? I was there in March and looked around. I really liked most neighborhoods west of Broadway near the Flatirons, and also liked the area around Pearl St. Lofts.

Also, what are your thoughts on living in Denver? I was only there for a day - I had a hard time getting a sense of the place. Is it an enjoyable place to live? I'm much more interested in living in a smaller town like Boulder, but will consider Denver - are there neighborhhoods there that you'd recommend?
Thanks for your help!

Apr 11, 05 11:02 am  · 
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uckitect

I think that it really depends on where you can go with cost. North Boulder has quite a range of prices and some really great areas. I really recommend the area north of Pearl Street, specifically around the Ideal Market (which is at Brodway and Balsam). There are also some great new homes going up farther up north, where 28th street and broadway connect.

I like Denver, but then I'm a big town girl. I think if you like to go out, do cultural things like theater and museums and concerts, you'll have better luck there. Boulder does get some great underground, blue grass, and small band music and good micro-brew bars. People in Boulder don't go out to clubs, they go out to bars. People in Denver do the opposite. Which for me is the one place where Boulder wins out. People here are super relaxed and love to hang out.

Living in Denver is significantly less expensive, and there are some really great new, revised, and old neighborhood all around down town. A lot of loft development as well. LoDo (Lower Downtown) in Denver is a great place. I don't know the names of the neighborhoods in Denver that well, but I now that areas that are south of down town are in general considered good. Denver Country Club is in that area which is pricey. Look in the area around Cherry Creek Mall.

Apr 11, 05 1:01 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Thanks. Good info.
I feel that we will be able to afford Boulder...two income family, no kids yet.

How are the hours generally? Are people forced to work a rigid schedule and long hours, or is it generally flexible depending on project requirements? (do people go off and climb at lunch and then come back and work till 7? I'd like that!)

The prob. I had with the towns btwn. Denver and Boulder was that they seemed to be creepy housing developments....all the same, all bland. I'm much more comfortable in a community like Boulder.

Is the design community there closely knit?

Apr 11, 05 4:07 pm  · 
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uckitect

depends on the firm, but I think most firms won't force you into slave labor unless completely necessary for a project. actually, yes, people go off and bike/climb at lunch on a regular basis. :O) sounds like this is the place for you!!!

I agree with you, I guess the parts I like in Denver are the older communities with cute bungalow homes that everyone buys up and rehabs into beauties! Same in Boulder actually, which was a bonus for us.

The design community is SUPER tight, but then I am really involved in the AIA here, so that might be why my answer is what it is. We have monthly happy hours, and just get together in general, a lot of lectures and events at the CU-Boulder campus (Denver has the same) and just general friendships within the loop. Sometimes I feel like everyone in Boulder is somehow involved in the profession, whether through design, building, engineering, whatever. Everywhere I go, I seem to run into people I met through my work or the AIA.

Apr 11, 05 4:19 pm  · 
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Jefferson

wow, fantastic. Sounds so much like the design community here in Charlottesville. I plan on starting a more serious job search in a few weeks after my current deadline is over. I am encouraged by what I am hearing from you.
I would like to find a safe neighborhood where biking and running is easy to do on a daily basis. In the open space areas in and around Boulder, is it safe?

Apr 11, 05 5:02 pm  · 
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uckitect

yeah, Boulder is really really safe, and you sound like you're born for this place with those habbits!!

Apr 11, 05 11:43 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Yeah that's how I felt when I visted...it's perfect. I'm also a huge skier, but have thouroughly exhausted east coast skiing. Def. will live on the slopes in the winter.

Apr 12, 05 9:06 am  · 
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uckitect

this would be the week to do it. it's 60 degrees down here and more than a foot of fresh powder up there!

Apr 12, 05 9:41 am  · 
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trace™

Lodo is a great place to live, but not worth the cost, imho. $370k for a 700 sq/ft loft is a little expensive. If you go across I25, about a quarter mile away, you can cut a third of that off.

Other areas to look at are the Washington Park, although I am sure it's infalted it's a great place to live, close enuogh to downtown but it's still nice neighborhoods. Cheeseman Park is really nice, too. People tell me it's a strong gay community, although I have never been able to tell and will consider it for a place to buy in the near future.

There are TONS of new lofts going up. Honestly, I can't see how the market can sustain itself for much longer, although they are selling faster than they are built. Seems like there are lots of dinks willing to pay a lot for soemthing close to down town.
The lofts are moving out of Lodo a little, and prices are getting reasonable for those. I just worked (renderings only) on a townhouse project about a halfmile from Lodo, 2 floors, roof top deck, about 1600-1800 sq/ft (I think), 2 car garage, for about $400k. BIG difference from the lodo robbery, but it's great to walk to the park, bike to the pathes, etc.

All in all, Denver is a very easy place to live. Can't say I like the desert part, but the rest is great. I do think therer are opportunities and two of my school friends are moving back here in the next month.

Apr 12, 05 10:00 am  · 
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wyoming81

There are a lot of nice areas in Denver. Highland Park and Washington Park are the trending young areas that are a little more expensive. Capital Hill is cheap with a lot more of an edge. Cheeseman Park is a step up from Capital Hill. West city Park and Five Points are a bit rough but are definitely improving and close to downtown. Lodo and Plate Valley are you typical warehouse lofts. Be careful though because most of the lofts are just really same banal apartments disguised as lofts.

Boulder is going to be much more of an island. They restrict the growth so housing is overpriced, but at least they managed to avoid dealing with affordable housing by pushing everyone out to Longmont. Lafayette is a neat little town that is cheaper than Boulder but close enough to both cities that one can enjoy either.

The only warning is that denver and boulder lack a lot in the culture department. The cities revolve around the outdoors so the cities tend to suffer as result. Folks from Boulder will deny this but I think the culturally life in the cities is lost to the moutains. Dont get my wrong, there is a lot to do, great music venues, resturants, etc. but the cities dont compete culturally with many cities.

Apr 12, 05 11:22 am  · 
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geecee

My wife and I are seriously considering relocating to Boulder. We lived in Boulder for a few years back in the mid 90's and are looking for this type of town to settle down and raise kids. We have had enough of the big city and are looking for the small town/big city amenities that boulder provides. How has the town changed in the last 7 to 8 years. I plan to work for a builder, but ultimately want to develop. I realize boulder county is about the last place on earth a reasonable developer would be interested in, however I would still be interested in knowing how the income property(rentals) and adaptive re-use markets look. I would think that it would be best to locate any "new development" outside of boulder county. How is the rental market? Is there a surplus of affordable rental properties. From what I've researched online, it seems the city has realized that some growth is neccessary to compete with the surronding communities.

What is Denver like now. When I was out there I wasnt very impressed. How is the design community doing? Other than the musuem has the city progressed?

Apr 12, 05 11:47 am  · 
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wyoming81

Denver has not progressed much in terms of progressive design but the city is a lot better than it was in the mid 90's. Many of the areas that were in bad shape have improved alot like five point for example. Boulder is just plain expensive, but the suburbs between there and denver are growing very quickly. As said before Lafayette is a nice town and there are some interesting develoments in Longmont, but on the whole its just suburban sprawl.

I dont mean to sound down on Boulder because it is a great area, but it is also a city full of contridictions and lost of B.S. They tend to hide problems rather than deal with them and this hurts the surrounding areas like longmont and broomfield a lot. They are bulding a lot though around Pearl Street and at what was once crossroads mall.

Apr 12, 05 12:30 pm  · 
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Jefferson

geecee....you sound just like me.....I hope I can make Boulder work, but Denver is def. intriguing. I'm heading back out there in two weeks to check things out. Cannot wait.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful info. I've gotta check out alot of these neighborhoods in Denver.

Apr 12, 05 9:42 pm  · 
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geecee

Jefferson...yeah, I'm looking in to Denver, but seriously doubt that I would live there. It's nice to have a large city so close though. Boulder is only 30 away, and its practically like living in the burbs. Boulder, presents exactly what were looking for. Safe(i couldnt think of a safer area), restaurants, young families, obviously plenty of outdoor activities. I was presently suprised at the housing prices in Boulder. Compared to other desirable areas...bay area, seattle, s. florida, etc... the prices have not skyrocketed and I would expect the market to be a safe bet as far as single family housing. Boulder will never be an undesirable area to live or own property. One of my major hangups with the area is that for the most part you are isolated from the rest of the country, DIA is in the middle of nowhere, and flights to just about anywhere are not nearly as affordable as they are from the east or west coasts.

Apr 13, 05 1:07 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Geecee....my thoughts EXACTLY. I am a big hiker, novice climber, mtn. biker, and lifelong skier....
I've done the NYC thing, I grew up in Boston. I'm sick of living in big cities. I like having one nearbye, and that's why I love Boulder. It gives you everything.

Have you looked btwn. Boulder and Denver? Is it all just crappy suburban plains sprawl or are there any decent communities?

When do you plan on moving?

Apr 13, 05 7:59 pm  · 
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9SquareGrid

If you're looking for an interesting community in the burbs, you might check out Prospect New Town. http://www.prospectnewtown.com

It's in Longmont, CO and was the first New Urbanist project in the state. It's very unique with some interesting architecture.

I wouldn't live there myself, but I'm more of a city person.

There are some really great neighborhoods in Denver. Things have changed so much in even the last 3 years. Keep in mind that we just passed a major light rail project that will add 100+ miles of lightrail to our current system including lines from Denver to Boulder, Longmont, and the airport over the course of the next 10-12 years.

If you are looking for a condo or loft, you should check out the
Central Platte Valley- It's where I would be moving if I were in the market for a loft or condo (new-build). This area was a dank industrial railyard just a few years ago but has been transformed into a beautiful place with a great park that runs along the Platte River. There's are a dozen+ projects that have already been completed, several more under consturction and many more planned. It's directly connected to Lodo and downtown via a new pedestrian suspension bridge and a light-rail line. This is also where the New Contemporary Art Museum is going to be built. Prices for condos/lofts are $200/sf+.

some pics (not mine) http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?threadid=72749

pics of a model of the neighborhood (again, not mine)
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?s=4b5780dddce436f8a1c8a8f94f99c8ea&threadid=72746




Apr 14, 05 2:40 am  · 
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oscar bon

Boulder. K's China. $5 triples. 'Nuff said.

Apr 14, 05 2:50 am  · 
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geecee

Jefferson...I have not visited westminster, louisville, broomfiield since I was out there. From what I remember, it seemed that they were similar to typical suburban enclaves. The cool thing about Boulder is that it has its own identity and culture. It doesnt feel like a suburb because it really isnt, at least not what I consider to be one. For us, we are really only interested in living in Boulder. Its not to say the other areas are not desirable, but that Boulder is the only area that offers what we are truly looking for. The seems to be a surplus of homes for sale right now, and the market seems reasonably priced, considering the location. We'll move as soon as we both have jobs, and sell our existing home. That said, we havent completely settled on Colorado. But it is our first or second choice, and I am actively pursuing employement.

Apr 14, 05 8:42 am  · 
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Jefferson

cool, like the pics! I'll check out the area in a week!

GC - good luck with your decision.

Apr 14, 05 9:05 am  · 
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geecee

jefferson...same to you. let me know how your visit goes. yeah those are great pics, i'm anxious to see what denver is like.

Apr 14, 05 9:32 am  · 
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wyoming81

Oscar bon- Those $5 triples must be good because if I remember right you were once complaining about you side activities in college preventing you from staying in school. And here I have thought Ziggy on the juke box at catacombs was the culprit. Silly me.

Apr 14, 05 10:35 pm  · 
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trace™
bump
Apr 16, 05 10:49 am  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Ahhhh Boulder!

I currently live on Pearl St. and I must say that this is the best place I have lived in Boulder. Lived closer to the hills at 3rd and canyon. But this is just so much closer to a lot of action.

Will be leaving Boulder after 6 years. I did my undergrad here, but leaving to do a masters at the AA in London.

Some firms . . .
OZ, Arch11, ComArts, AR7, AMD, ARCHInc, many, many others . . .check out AIAcolorado.org for a list of firms associated with them. Probably many others who are not associated with them too. I liked Richard Epstein Architects. He did the recycling center in east Boulder. He is now a partner at AR7 (HooverDesmond Architects). I have a few friends that work there.

Good luck with your move. Boulder (or the region right around it) is said to have a curse . . . the chief Niwot Curse to be exact. He realized that the land could not be "owned." Therefore the "white" settelers who were trying to possess the land were cursed to never find a land as beutiful as the region.

Something like that. I think it is partly true. And I think it is the air. Today, I sat outside writing and listening to music all day. Truly a unique place.

geecee makes a good point about westminster, lousville, broomfield. While they are definately more affordable, it is your pretty typical american suburb city package. Boulder has much more to offer.

Apr 16, 05 9:44 pm  · 
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Jefferson

wisof - will you be selling your place? or do you rent?

I'm heading out there next weekend and want to check out some rental possibilites west of broadway and in the mapleton - spruce st. neighborhood north of pearl st. lofts. i will also reconsider the burbs btwn denver boulder, but i really would prefer boulder.

i've heard about that curse, and no doubt it's effected me. i was there about 2 years ago on a gorgeous summer day and have wanted to go back ever since badly! then i was back last month and fell in love...niwot got me!

Apr 17, 05 3:06 pm  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Jefferson,
I rent, but there are a lot of people around me that own their place. We really love our apartment, it is perfect for us in a perfect location. I actually sold my car soon after moving here. I take the public transportation (I work at the University). There is a stop within stones throw of my balcony.
My landlord owns a few of the apartments here. She is very nice, and might be a good person to talk to. Are you looking to rent or buy? Some people just bought the place above us, which also comes with a garage.
Our apartments are the "Whittier Square" apartments in the Whittier neighborhood on Spruce St. Very close to Spruce/Pearl and Folson Streets.

Apr 17, 05 3:19 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Hey, could you give me her info? Or is there a link online for those apts? When are you leaving your apt? Maybe we could rent it after you leave. How big and what do you pay?
Thanks!

Apr 17, 05 5:42 pm  · 
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Jefferson

BUMP

Apr 18, 05 8:08 pm  · 
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Luis Fraguada

hehe, my bad, thanks for the bump. I will talk to her soon. What would be the best way to get her info to you without broadcasting it here. I have a good feeling she would be intereted in someone coming in after me. She is very flexible too. After our one year lease ran out, I did not know how long I would be staying due to grad apps. Currently we are on a month-by-month basis . . . all she asks me is a two week notice before I move out. I will inform her . . . I did have some pictures of our place. Lemme see if I can dig em up and I will post em here.

Apr 18, 05 8:22 pm  · 
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Jefferson

sorry, the caps didn't mean that I was pissed...just notating a drawing and forgot to turn them off!! hehe

you could email me...just click my name above.

Thanks so much, I really really appreciate it!

Apr 18, 05 9:49 pm  · 
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Jefferson

bump-diddy-bump

Apr 20, 05 10:10 am  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Jefferson . . .. check your email. I spoke to her this morning and she will be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you guys cannot find something through her, she has many contacts in Boulder, so I am sure you will see something you like. Good luck!

Apr 20, 05 11:29 am  · 
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Jefferson

thank you! I just got the email and will give her a ring.
I'll let you know what happens

Apr 20, 05 3:12 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Good news...my wife got a job at a very good investment bank in Denver! We'll be heading out there in a month, and now I can focus on a job search without added pressure. Does anyone know if there are good firms outside of the LoDo area, or are they all there? Are there any in the Cherry Creek, Wash. Park area?
Thanks!

May 4, 05 9:57 am  · 
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Jefferson

bump

May 5, 05 9:02 am  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Jefferson, have you tried looking at the AIA Colorado Firm Directory?

While it is only AIA Firms, it might be a good place to begin your search.

May 6, 05 2:16 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Hey,
how are u. I'm just beginning a serious search, and have found most firms are in LoDo or downtown, which I'm not to hot on. I mean, if I really wanted to be in a firm in an urban area, I'd go back to NYC. Oh well, I'll deal. A7 Hoover Desmond looks really good to me. That's my type of firm....any word on how big they are, what the firm dynamics are?
How are thinks out there right now? climbing season?

May 6, 05 3:32 pm  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Jefferson, my friend works at AR7. George Hoover used to be the Dean of the Architecture School in Denver and his firm is one of the biggies in Denver. Another big firm is Anderson/Mason/Dale, although the name might be different.

May 6, 05 5:06 pm  · 
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Jefferson

A/M/D is too big for me right now...but I do think I like AR7 alot, esp. if it's a resonable size...does your friend like it there?

May 6, 05 5:26 pm  · 
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Luis Fraguada

Yeah he likes it there. The architect he worked for in Boulder became a partner (Richard Epstein), and brought him along. He mostly works on ArchDesktop (sometimes with contempt), and does some design details, etc. I should probably ask him more of what he does.

Currently, he is working on a project on the Auraria Campus in Denver for student housing, can't remember how many units, but it looked pretty large.

May 6, 05 6:07 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Hey,
That would be great. I am def. interested in them. Also ask him how big, I don't want to be at a firm over 100 peeps.

May 7, 05 6:53 pm  · 
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davidgray

~Urban design degree at UC-Denver?~

i just landed a job as a planner for CLC associates in denver (www.clcassoc.com), staying with my parents in colorado springs til i can get a steady paycheck and buy a place up in denver. no, i'm not an architect, although i really like the subject. anybody know anything about the Urban Design program at UC-Denver? i really like the curriculum they have there, but if it's considered a joke by the working world, i would rather avoid it. anybody at UCD right now for M.Arch.? any thoughts? i would like to work for a couple years, then head back to school. i need a break, having just graduated a couple weeks ago. i'm really interested in urban design, and i have a hard time telling if it's best just to go to a-school or find a niche school that does urban design. or maybe it doesn't matter....

May 9, 05 3:03 pm  · 
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Jefferson

I would go to an Arch. school, not a niche school, but that's my opinion....I don't know much about CU-Denver, and I think that's the problem. If you plan on staying in the Colorado area, then it's prob. a good school, but nationally I don't think it gets much reconition. Most people around the country think party school when they hear CU.
Enjoy your time off, congrats on graduation!

May 9, 05 3:43 pm  · 
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Jefferson

I would go to an Arch. school, not a niche school, but that's my opinion....I don't know much about CU-Denver, and I think that's the problem. If you plan on staying in the Colorado area, then it's prob. a good school, but nationally I don't think it gets much reconition. Most people around the country think party school when they hear CU.
Enjoy your time off, congrats on graduation!

May 9, 05 3:43 pm  · 
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davidgray

Jefferson:
It looks like you go to UVA. I am from the DC area, but got my undergrad in planning out west. I looked at several arch schools this summer, UVA seems to be the best fit for me by far. i talked to bill morrish while there, and he really seemed to connect with my ideas about getting an Arch degree to go with a planning undergrad. i had planned on going back east to virginia to get my residency back and apply to UVA, but i got this job in denver, and the out of state tuition for UVA is too much for me to handle. maybe i'll make it back eventually. anyhow, what are your impressions of UVA? I guess my obvious interest is urban design/infill type stuff, including the economic side of it as well. if possible, please email me any thoughts on the program there and which track you are on. i talked to RS who runs the archinect UVA school blog, he's been very helpful, i would appreciate hearing from you as well. thanks.

May 9, 05 5:01 pm  · 
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Jefferson

Hey,
Actually I just work here...my wife is graduating from UVa's MBA program in two weeks. My impression of UVa from an outsider is that it's a good school, and they are now doing some interesting design build projects over there. If you can get in, I'd recommend going...it's such a nice campus. Sorry I don't have more for you, I'm pretty removed from the school.

hey, if I lived in the Cherry Creek area, would it be stupid and completely insane to commute over to Boulder daily? I think I'd rather work up there than in Denver. Thoughts?

May 10, 05 10:24 am  · 
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