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City Park Craftman’s Guild

Mixed Use develops potential for creative entrepreneurs

The City Park West neighborhood of Denver, Colorado contains many local businesses owned by people who also live in the vicinity. The creative class is currently the dominant character of this commercial corridor and continues to grow. The project challenges traditional live-work structures by proposing a new business model that can aid in the technical development of the professional craftsman and still be a feasible investment.

The small site is just a stone’s throw east of downtown Denver and contains a catalytic energy as an area in transition. This evolving retail corridor has an existing local identity that fueled the strategy for the initial design concept. The decline of the technical trade school, paired with the rising need for expert craftsmen, emerged the idea to rethink the traditional apprenticeship in the process. Using architecture as a way to structure a shared system – private and shared amenities are kept separate, but exist in a working relationship together. The craftsmen lives with his work, a new rigor to the practice that promotes the synergy of continual experimenting.┬áThe architecture becomes a system that functions on the connection of its parts: a shared high bay space where collaboration takes place and an event or showroom space are the two main features that allow for the craftsman to thrive.

This project not only studies how architecture functions for the craftsmen on the small scale, but also considers the economic and cultural feasibility of the neighborhood forces on the project and how the social constructs are key aspects in its very success.