Folk: Cameron Minor // Project Manager

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After recently completing his Masters of Architecture at CU Denver, Cameron is now in the midst of getting his architecture license. This is a big deal. In 2006, Cam moved to Colorado to attend school at Colorado University in Boulder, where he completed his undergrad in Environmental Design and Architecture.

Originally from Idaho, Cam’s interest in architecture and construction was sparked by the influence of his father’s lumber yard business, where he was exposed to the building trade. 

Cam’s first project with tres birds workshop was Horsebarn, where he kept things moving and organized on-site as a foreman. From here, he shifted into his current role as Project Manager for the Todd Reed extension in Boulder. Today, Cam is managing the Gilpin project, which he says is challenging him to learn about creating a net-zero structure using geothermal and solar energy.

When not studying or working, Cam is doing what he came to Colorado to do- biking, camping and skiing. Idaho prepared him well. Cam is going with lion as his spirit animal.

Behind the screens {Lumina}.

Behind the screens {Lumina}.

Via @luminadenver. Main solar tube getting capped.

Via @luminadenver. Main solar tube getting capped.

Swoon landscaping coming around one step at a time. #tresbirds #architecture #water #boulder

Swoon landscaping coming around one step at a time. #tresbirds #architecture #water #boulder

Horsebarn Sustainability

The finer points of sustainability on the HORSEBARN project.

Reclamation of an existing building that was marked for demolition.  By reclaiming the building itself we were able to dramatically decrease the embodied energy in the making of the building. Keen engineering and sympathetic space planning allowed us to reuse this 120+ year old ‘Barn”.

Resource consolidation and space efficiency. The practice of shared amenities among 25+ companies is at the spine of our sustainability practices at the HorseBarn. Most of the tenants were able to downsize from their previous space because everything is shared; conference rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, public spaces.  This results in substantially lowered energy usage on the net project.

Energy conservation. The entire building envelope was insulated with poly-iso blown in foam. The resultant r-value for the envelope is r-32 throughout. All windows were replaced with r-4 low E double paned glass.

Natural day lighting. A 400 sq. ft. atrium skylight was installed to daylight the core of the building and all common spaces. All internal offices were built with glass walls to allow for daylighting throughout the project. Artificial lighting is on either motion or photo sensors to ensure the artificial lights are turned off when not in use or satisfied with daylight.

Reclaimed materials. The majority of all materials brought into the project were reclaimed from the Denver region. All carpet was reused from HP headquarter demolition, all furniture / work surfaces / stairs were built out of railroad boxcar floors.

Folk: John Bezouska // Project Manager

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John has been running projects at tres birds for the past three years and has logged the most miles managing projects both in Boulder and Denver. Coming to tres birds with a Bachelor of Environmental Design with an emphasis in Architecture from CU Boulder, John not only manages projects, but helps build them as well. His project list includes: Taxi, Quickleft, Victor Ops and Swoon.

Swoon has been the most rewarding project for him, but also the most challenging, for the same reason- figuring out how to translate the artistic details into reality.

Outside of tres birds workshop, John continues his creative passion for design and construction by building custom furniture. In the winter months, John can be found on the ski slopes and this summer he purchased a sail boat that he has been fixing up. John is a true tinkerer and craftsman who enjoys working with his hands and finding creative solutions to design challenges. tres birds workshop is lucky to have him. 

John shares a kindred spirit with the wild marmot.

Process: Reduction

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Reduction in this case refers to the process of reduction in architecture 1) taking away as a means of revealing the intrinsic value of the structure 2) minimizing material types 3) simplifying program. 

Historical structures, especially, lend themselves to reductive possibilities: bricks to be uncovered, floors to be revealed, classic details to be revived once again. However, the process of reduction can take place in new construction as well. We take away extraneous building material to let natural light in, we combine functions of building features to increase efficiency, we merge programmatic elements, we push the boundaries of typical material use. Ultimately, we use reduction (in place of decoration) to make spaces that are beautiful and functional in their inherent qualities. 

Key Case Studies:

HORSEBARN:

1) Layers of dirt and soot were blasted away from the building’s original wood framed structure. Beams that once separated horse stalls and bear the markings of their time were once again revived. These wood beams make up the primary aesthetic quality of the project.

2) Reinforcements of the original structure were created using material from the original structure in surgery-like fashion. Railroad boxcar was used throughout as workstations, stairs, kiosks, structural flooring, doors, kitchen and furniture.

3) Common areas were created to increase efficient use of space and reduce footprint for building tenants.

CACTUS:

1) Since its first inception as a 1901 mercantile building, the interior had slowly built up layers of previous lives over the years. By the time Cactus bought the building, there was a clear encroaching of layers that resulted in small work cavities as well as stale air and light circulation. In the process of reduction, each layer was peeled away until the original strata was reached, where light and air could once again move freely.

2) Introduced materials were limited to steel, glass, and reclaimed maple wood.

3) Client requested four conference room spaces of various sizes. We created a conference core made out of an adjustable wall system that can be one space or four, depending on how the walls are drawn.

McNICHOLS:

1) The building had a history of remodels, covering windows with walls, blocking skylights and the destruction of original volumes. We spent four months getting back to the circa 1910 condition of the built structure, limiting our installation only to devices that allow sunlight in.

2) All introduced, functional programming is made of pine beetle kill from our region’s dead forest.

3) Programming structures were made with an afterlife in mind. Since this project was completed for The Biennial, programming structures were made to be reused in other settings. 

Materials: Light

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Natural light is a life force that contains many healing properties and that our connection to as healthy humans is essential. We consider natural light a fundamental building material, used to bring health to residents and building inhabitants alike. Lumina Denver (opening fall 2014), a mixed-use apartment building designed by tres birds workshop, developed by TreeHouse Denver and built by JHL Constructors helps illustrate this concept.

Lumina is a Latin word meaning brilliant light. In botany, it also refers to the cavity enclosed by cellular walls. Lumina Denver {Lumina} is a building that gives particular emphasis to the theme of light, a concept that is integrated throughout.

One of the main light features of Lumina can be found in the central atrium or “light core,” which will allow daylight to penetrate the common areas throughout. The light core is achieved by punctuating the roof structure with 50 circular skylights of varying sizes. There are no hallways inside Lumina, only balconies that open to the center atrium, where all apartment units are connected.

Inside individual apartment units, sunlight is used for aesthetics, as well as temperature control. Aluminum screens that outfit each outdoor balcony will diffuse incoming light to create interior light patterning. The screens can be adjusted by each individual resident to either shade sunlight or let it in, allowing residents to determine their own comfort levels.

Part of what makes light unique as a building material is the ability to direct it in a variety of ways to achieve different results. It can be used as a heating or cooling agent or to adjust levels of brightness for example. Considering how light interacts with the envelope of the building, we selected white as an exterior color in order to reflect summer heat (instead of attracting and concentrating it using a dark color).

We also value light for it’s ability to help power buildings and generate electricity. Using solar PV panels as dual-purpose walls for the main circulation stair, sunlight will be absorbed and converted into energy to help supplement electrical generation from the city’s grid.

Lastly, the neon lights that once adorned former Pagliacci’s restaurant will be re-purposed on the building’s exterior and within its interior. The clown light will be fixed high up on the exterior and will be visible from the freeway. The namesake Pagliacci’s sign will convert into a garden box inside the lobby and one other will appear in the solar clad stairwell.

In our experience, when light is considered as a fundamental building material, the building becomes inherently more illuminated and with this, a greater sense of health and well-being for building inhabitants.

Running tests on the display shelving for @toddreedjewelry showroom in Venice, CA. #denver #architecture #toddreed

Running tests on the display shelving for @toddreedjewelry showroom in Venice, CA. #denver #architecture #toddreed

Folk: Aaron Tweedie // Architect + Project Manager

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Aaron is a long-time tres birds workshop hand, blending his love of sustainable architecture with his astuteness to mange projects from beginning to end. Aaron received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Design at Texas A&M, completing his last semester at the Ecosa Institute, a sustainable design school in Prescott, Arizona. Aaron went on to New York to complete a Masters in Architecture at Parson’s School of Design, where he further deepened his understanding of sustainable architecture.  Being a “hard-core urbanite” at heart, studying architecture in New York City provided a range of experiences for Aaron to consider density and various building structures. In 2009, Aaron and his wife Haily migrated to Colorado in search of sun and a place of architectural and urban opportunity.  Shortly after arriving Aaron joined tres birds workshop.

Aaron enjoys being involved in the full process of creating buildings and notes that working closely with a client can be an immersing, fascinating, and rewarding experience.  Working through all aspects of a project – programming, financial analysis, permitting, design, and ultimately construction are all aspects that, when brought together successfully, afford a high level of reward. Aaron says the HORSEBARN project is a perfect example of this challenge and reward scenario. Starting with a historical building that most people thought should be torn down, Aaron was tasked with managing the project from start to finish, which he did with great organization and leadership. Today the HORSEBARN hosts 200+ employees and is a hub of activity in the Curtis Park neighborhood.

Other major projects Aaron has managed include: CACTUS, BROADWAY TRIANGLE and currently in progress, 2601 LARIMER, and ENTERPRISE - a 70,000 sf co-working space opening in the spring. Aaron’s main focus outside of work is on his family, including new son Nathan, as well as their newly purchased 110-year-old house. Aaron’s animal spirit is one part Labrador and one part aspiring honey badger.