Studio K2 Ramblings

So Much More Than Drawing

It’s not commonly known, but we do so much more than “putting blueprints in the computer.” (Common K2 Phrases) One of our more recent endeavors was to update the Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment for the multipurpose rooms of a senior living facility’s clubhouse. Along with design, Studio K2 did the install. That is, we took care of the stressful ordering, collecting, and installing of the upgrading process and gave the clubhouse a fresh designer’s touch.           

The goal of the aesthetic upgrade was to create a cozy, welcoming, “Colorado Casual” feel while giving the space a more modern look.                            The rooms were transformed using monochromatic, geometric linear patterns with light colors and accents of floral arrangements filled with bright colors and contrasting shapes.

 

 

 

So if you are ever in the need of an aesthetic refresh, just give us a call!

 

Art Back into Architecture: Museum of Contemporary Art

More Sketching from SK2!!

Right before the Thanksgiving Holiday break, we went down the street to a local “Must-Do” in Denver, the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Not only was the museum full of thought-provoking, artistic pieces to stimulate inspiration in our own drawings, but the architecture of the building itself was a marvel. Opened in 2007, the contemporary building was “designed to minimize boundaries between the exterior spaces of the city and the interior galleries of the museum.” (source.)

     

After walking around the museum, the interactive exhibit “The Bubble Garden” became the focal point of some sketches, while others went straight to the roof to sketch the skyline.

     

        

 

Roof Evolution Groundbreaking!

Roof Evolution LLC’s new office building had their groundbreaking this week! Despite the cold weather and frozen ground, it was an exciting celebration for Sheridan! Even the Mayor came out! Be sure to follow Roof Evolution LLC on Facebook to keep up with the progress on their new building! You might even see Kevin in some of their pictures!

 

 

Laundry Basket Decorating for Warm-a-Heart

Studio K2 was back at it again, using out creative skills to decorate (this time) a laundry basket for Warm-A-Heart. Thanks to our generous host, OfficeScapes, we decorated and filled our basket for Refugees in Need.

The participants were given the option of decorating for three different themes; house warming, boys, or girls. SK2 was inspired by the house warming theme in which we aimed to create an interactive basket for the whole family.

The canvas was a typical plan white cylindrical plastic basket formed with the classic wide lattice work, in which three layers of openings are made in the tapered laundry basket. The structure of the canvas gave the office the inspiration to turn the basket into a zoetrope or a flip book like film strip. “A zoetrope is one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion.” (Source.)

The concept was to weave strips or “film” through the three layers of openings in the lattice of the basket. On each film would be a different animation depicting a unique story. One story shown horizontally in the bottom layer, one in the middle, and one in the top layer. The basket would then be placed on a lazy-susan, an item to enhance our decoration by allowing the basket to spin giving the full effect of the zoetrope, but also a useful household item to be re-used for functional purposes by the Refugee family.

 

Tuning to our scenes created from fabric and paint chip samples on the box decorated last year for Newborns in Need, we chose our three favorite elements to use for our basket’s stories. Scuba Steve and his fishy friends from the underwater scene, a fisherman at the foothills of the mountains, and a hot air balloon floating above all the land and sea. While each story was to be viewed individually to get the full scope of the moving zoetrope, overall the three layers worked together from deep in the sea too high in the sky.

The rest of the basket was wrapped in red and black yarn to keep with the old timey movie theater color scheme and film strip concept. Lastly, we went to TJ Maxx and picked out some useful items that anyone might need in their home; to name a few, hand towels, cooking utensils, and soap. As well as, a few extra items like a blanket, scented candle, coffee press and coffee. In the end, the plain white plastic basket was transformed into the interactive flipbook film strip animation, with the hopes of giving the Refugee family entertainment, as well as, useful household items.

 

SK2 is Thankful For…

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

– William Arthur Ward

Everyday there is so much to be thankful for, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving we would like to share a few things we are thankful for.

 

 

 

 

Studio K2 would also like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and a reminder to share the things you are thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Studio K2!

 

Art Back into Architecture: The Search for Patio Inspiration

After a busy week of meetings and deadlines, the office found time to take a Sketch Day. The place chosen to sketch was Postinio in LoHI. This adventurous sketch day ended up being a quest for patio inspiration.

One of the projects being worked on at the time was a patio design for a restaurant with distinct design requirements. Postinio, coincidentally, has a beautiful, large patio and a unique interior design making it the perfect opportunity to get ideas and inspirations for our design. Interesting design elements about the restaurant include a wall made from books, stunning light fixtures, playful wall paper, and exceptional branding all the way from the space to the food plating.

       

The surroundings were also very inspiring to our creative minds. The patio we were sketching from was adjacent to other restaurants and beer gardens, making one continuously long porch. We were surrounded by beautiful, full trees in which one felt within them from the patio. Pockets of downtown or the neighboring park could be seen within little moments framed by the trees and large umbrellas.

               

It was a beautiful day to sketch outside and a great way to close out the summer.

 

Art Back into Architecture: SK2 + Goed Zuur + Happy Hour!

So, this post is showing some of our concept sketches when designing the interior of 2801 Welton…. just kidding these are our drawings from Sketch Day at Goed Zuur!

That’s right Studio K2 went and had a Sketch Day at our 2801 Welton renovation project. After much time imagining how one’s design will turn out in real life, it’s only natural to go see it in action. So of course, we went and had a Sketch Day to experience the unique atmosphere and eclectic selection of beverages.

While there we sat at the designed, two-tiered tables allowing us a complete view of the bar with the keg and stemware storage acting as the back of bar (one of the central focal points of the restaurant); as well as, the featured wall made of wood planks, spiraling from a clock. These are just some of the interior elements that display Goed Zuur’s brand, while creating a one-of-a-kind environment. Since we got there early in their day’s opening, we got to see the place fill up with people who also became a part of the atmosphere.

                         

Thinking we were unique, enjoying beverages and sketching, one of the servers informed us that she sees a lot of people come in and spend hours coloring in coloring books or playing board games. So, if you are looking for a place to enjoy your soothing activities/hobbies, Goed Zuur is the place to go!

Overall, we are so pleased on how it turned out and are so thankful for being given the opportunity to design for such an originative client!

          

 

Fresh Perspectives: Meet Our Summer Intern

This summer Studio K2 had the pleasure of introducing the world of architecture to our Summer Intern, Nethania! Hopefully we didn’t scare her away before she could fully dive in!

Nethania was introduced to our office via the Colorado “I have a Dream” Foundation. (DreamersDreamers adopts classrooms in select schools, and stick with them throughout there schooling. Their goal is to provide the students with opportunities and tools that encourage them to do well in and graduate high school. Furthermore, they focus these tools and experiences so that the students aim to continue their successes through continuing their education and ultimately work toward the career of their dreams.

It is a bit interesting to think about all the things that would have had to happen for Nethania’s and Studio K2’s paths to have crossed.

In the third grade, Nethania’s class was adopted by the Dreamers Foundation. Dreamers worked to give Nethania and her fellow classmates diverse opportunities to explore colleges and introduce them to various types of resume boosters. Part of which is taking the students to conferences/trips with a focus on exploring different colleges and areas of study, as well as, walking them through the looking for/interviewing process of finding jobs/internships.

Nethania, having an interest in both architecture and engineering, previously did an internship with an engineering firm and wanted the opportunity to experience an architecture firm before going into college, in order to get a better idea of which direction she wants to go in. Thus, her focus for an internship this summer was to work with an architecture firm.

From Studio K2’s path, one of our wonderful clients is involved in the Dreamers Foundation and mentioned to us a seminar the program had to welcome new companies (in the hopes of attracting different fields), ultimately to give their students more opportunities and more fields of interest to explore. After attending the seminar, Studio K2 was excited and inspired to spread the fun of architecture and get a summer intern.

After interviewing a few interns, Nethania was brought on board!

Nethania, is from Denver, and is going into her senior year of high school. She became interested in architecture at a young age. When adopted by the Dreamers program, she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. She had responded by saying she wanted to go into construction and be just like her dad.

The counselors in the program had suggested to her about going into the field of architecture. They set her up with a mentor who gave her books on architecture, showed her how to draw some architectural elements such as doors, and built card structures together.

When asked, Nethania described that her goals going into the internship was to:

  1. Get a better idea of what architecture is all about.
  2. Get more information on what the process is to become an architect
  3. Get a better understanding of the work of an architect.

Additionally, she explained that she had expected to have to do all the drawings by hand and was unaware of drafting programs, such as AutoCAD.

While here at SK2, Nethania had the opportunity to work on several projects and was introduced to AutoCAD, the ANSI regulations, drawing interior elevations and floor plans, organizing a samples library, picking out furniture for interior design, and putting together a look book for clients. We hoped to engage her into our office life style while giving her enough tools and experiences to further her in her career successes.

As she enters into her senior year of high school, Nethania is looking to attend a university with a focus in architecture and engineering. Her top choice thus far is CU Boulder; but if given the opportunity to go out-of-state, she would like to attend either UCLA or Pratt Institute.

Since the summer is almost over (just a bit behind on this posting) Nethania has finished her internship. We are excited to have had her apart of our office, loved the work she did, and we wish her the best of luck on graduating high school and getting into the college of her choice. We hope to have her on board in the future!

 

Art Back into Architecture: SK2 Introduces Sketch Days to our Summer Intern

After months of busy schedules, the office was finally able to squeeze in some sketch time, taking a quick trip to Union Station (but this time tackling the interior). On this particular Sketch Day SK2 had a special participant, our summer intern!

Nethania, who came to us via The Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation,

The Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation,
had just started venturing into the world of architecture when the office was eager to introduce her to the field by having a Sketch Day! Be on the lookout for another blog post all about Nethania!

The SK2 team had many exciting and inspiring elements to sketch within the grand interior of the renovated transportation hub. In fact, the well-appointed architectural features of the palatial space made an appearance in our drawings:

The Windows

One of the attributes of Union Station’s interior is the large, bright open space within the Great Hall. The space’s openness is primarily due to the many “multi-story arched windows and bays” casting light into the room. (Source.) Thus, it’s no wonder why the Beaux-Art style windows were a main focus for many of our sketches. Some of us even had similar ideas of sketching what was outside the windows, as the composition so perfectly framed the city outside.

The Lights

Much like the grandiose windows that play a big part in the interior environment of the Great Hall, the light fixtures also add decorative elements to “Denver’s Living Room.” From wall scones, to pendants and chandeliers, the station (and our sketchbooks) is/are scattered throughout with a variety of lighting elements.

The large chandeliers, a major focal point of the interior of Union Station, were a big part of the renovation. The original building once had three chandeliers that were replace with dull fluorescent panels sometime before the renovation. The new design included the re-establishment of chandeliers similar to the originals in order to bring back the fundamental characteristics of the historic building. (Source.)

Some not so historic elements but still important benefactors in the disposition of “Denver’s Living Room,” and also drawing inspirations were the shops, people and potted plants that bring vibrant life to the significant space.

 

            

The Shops

The Great Hall of Union Station is home to many diverse shops, restaurants, and cafés. The pulsating energy the program brings to the space is demonstrated in the sketches.

 

The People

The purpose of the renovation of Union Station was to bring together the people of the city through one central transportation hub, making it no stranger to the different faces that pass through its doors. SK2 teammates captured some of the faces in their drawings.

 

The Plants

Strategically placed within the shops, the people, and the movement are various organic still-life that caught the attention of many sketchers. Though just a small element within the Great Hall, the potted plants make a big impact on the personality of the historic Union Station.

 

    

 

 

Office Successes: Historic Preservation an SK2 Specialty

Over the course of 11 years the leadership of Studio K2, Kevin Koernig and Geneva Kowalski, have worked together developing a passion for reviving old structures. During that time, Studio K2 has completed several historic preservation projects throughout the Denver area. Looking back at our accomplishments, we can say that Historic Preservation is one of our key (and probably our most fun and challenging) areas of practice, with a focus on restoring an existing structure, to give them a bright new future. This work has found honor for these historic buildings in the number of awards that have been bestowed upon them.

These are a collection of historic buildings that the Studio K2 team have had the honor of restoring and giving new life.

  • The Saddlery Building – winner of the 2012 Historic Denver Award.

After – 2012

Before – 2008

Built in the 1900s, the Saddlery building was a warehouse for suppliers of pumps, windmills, and eventually saddles.

Back in 2007, when Kevin was still the Principal Architect of the Lawrence Group team, the old structure was first brought to Kevin’s attention as the last remaining Grand Old Warehouse to be renovated in Downtown Denver. Then when the Lawrence Group transitioned into Studio K2, the Saddlery Building was one of the first projects completed (8 years later) with the young firm.

During the 8 years the renovation project existed, it was in the hands of two firms and two separate owners, but always under the care of Kevin. The goal for the clients was to maintain the building as its original self as much as possible.

In the end, Studio K2 was able to keep and restore the original windows, restore the brick façade, and add parking to the basement. The design also accommodated “ground level improvements to integrate the building to the pedestrian, provide retail and restaurant space, four stories of office space, [and] add a new penthouse with copper cladding.” (Source.) As Kevin explains, “its every architect’s dream to work with copper,” and SK2 was very excited to include it in the renovation without over powering the historic characteristics.

Along with the copper, a key feature of the design includes the incorporation of a German made HVAC system. The Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) system reduced the size of the ducts to accommodate the structure’s low ceiling heights. The building retains a comfortable indoor temperature without drawing attention to the mechanical system that is integrated into the architecture allowing the existing “heavy timber construction to remain the star of the show.” -Kevin

Before – 2008

After – 2012

Penthouse – 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sternberg Building or The Court House Professional Building | 1959 – winner of the Littleton Preservation Award.

Before – 2011

This 1960s structure was to become the annex building to the courthouse in Littleton, Colorado. Originally the office of Eugene D. Sternberg, principal of the first architecture firm from Littleton and architect of Arapahoe Acres and Arapahoe Community College, it was important to restore the historic nature of the building while having the least amount of impact on the building. (Source.)

After – 2017

The split-level (no elevator) building with many 1960s architectural features posed many challenges when updating the building to current ADA standards. Working with the existing structure and the building code, Studio K2 was able to make renovations that accommodated the new program without taking away from Littleton’s Star-itect’s work or adding a lot of additional cost to the overall budget. The original wood work that Sternberg had in his office remains in tack.

 

 

  • 2801 Welton – winner of the 2016 Historic Denver Award

Before – 2014

After – 2016

This two story building, built in 1895, had seen many residences throughout its lifespan once being home to a hotel, soul and Chinese food restaurants, a Jazz Club, and the American Legion. Additionally, the old structure in the Five-Points Neighborhood used to be a cat house and bar in which interesting relics were found in the walls, including a sketch of one of the women.

While the goal of the project was to restore the building as close to the fundamental look and feel of its former self, this project had many challenges when trying to return the building back to its original glory. One of the main struggles was the condition the abandoned building since it had been previously burned and had a leaky roof for many years.

Despite the challenges the project had many successes. The windows were returned to their historic locations, the wood storefront was re-imagined, and the wood details and exposed brick were renovated. Much like the old drawing was found in the walls, another interesting relic was discovered during the process. An old mural for Yuye Café and Coca-Cola from the 1940’s was discovered when the 60 year old stucco was removed from the brick walls, and restored on the exterior facade.

After – 2016

Before – 2014

The two-story building is now home to new residences, a new restaurant, Goed Zuur, and office space on the second floor. The restoration of the notable building “was a gift back to Five-Points as an icon of its past history.” -Kevin

To see more about the historic structure and its award, check out Historic Denver’s video:

 

We like to think that a bit of our office’s historic preservation success has come from the experience and talented work of our Principal, Kevin, prior to him founding Studio K2. Kevin has served on Littleton Historic Preservation board for 10 years and was the chair member for many years. In Kevin’s previous firms, he had the privilege to be the architect of record for the following award winning historic preservation projects.

  • Myrtle Hill Lofts – winner of the 2008 AIA Architects Choice Award

Before

After

A site that laid vacant for many years had a collection of four buildings that once were classrooms for the Denver International School. The buildings were all constructed in different years, ranging from 1906, 1922, 1928 and 1986, each featuring their own characteristics and styles of their years (as well as their wear & tear).

The 1928 building was chosen to be preserved for its architectural significance and style. The major design challenge for this project was the conversion of two very diverse programs. Architectural elements that made up the iconic characteristics of the school were ideal to be preserved in the new program of residential units.

Thanks to the huge neighborhood support throughout the design process, Kevin and his team at the Lawrence Group transformed the historic classroom building into ten luxury lofts. The unique classroom entries were reused as doorways to the lofts, while the units recaptured some of the space within the school’s 14 foot hallways. Additionally, the original casework was restored and reused in the units.

Much like the reuse of the entryways, the team came up with a clever use for the original ¾” inch thick real slate chalkboards. While some living units kept the actual chalkboards hung on the walls as featured elements within the space, others have the chalkboards cut and used as slate tiles around the fireplaces creating a one-of-a-kind focal point.

After

Before

The collaboration of the two diverse programs, as well as, the distinctive historical elements of the 1928 school building was an architect’s dream to create, “our best unit designs yet.” -Kevin

 

 

 

 

  • Lowenstein Theater – winner of the 2006 DURA Award and the 2006 Historic Denver Award

Before

After

The Lowenstein Theater was built in 1953 by the patron Helen Bonfils, whose dream was to bring community theater in a “state of the art” theater to Denver. (Source.)

The goal for the project was to re-purpose the building into a new retail use by finding a home for Denver’s iconic business, The Tattered Cover, within one of Denver’s iconic buildings on Colfax.

“Marrying the two was a chance of a life time.” -Kevin

In the end, just about all the important structural elements of the theater were saved and reused for the new use. The stage, lobby, raised seating, the volumes of space, ceilings, and walls of the big auditorium all can still be seen as one immerses themselves within the stacks of books. Additionally, the original significant features of the theater, such as the seats and lighting, were reused throughout the space.

After

After

After

Likewise, the exterior also was renovated turning a dull alley into a lively esplanade. Overhangs were added to the existing light brick and terra cotta facade to create an inviting entrance. The renovations to the area ultimately created a prominent anchor space for the intersection of Colfax and East High School, where the school’s promenade terminates at the theater’s site.

Reflecting about our past projects, Studio K2 can say we have found a passion for old structures, their past stories and the tales they have yet to tell.