Workshop8 Creates Contemporary Architecture Across Boulder

Once Upon A Time

There was a big bad wolf. And three little pigs. And three houses made of straw, sticks and bricks.  Guess what? The wolf would be stumped if he came across a home designed by the team at WORKSHOP8.  This architecture and structural and civil engineering outfit is using cutting edge materials to craft Contemporary Architecture across Boulder

Lets Play Legos

WORKSHOP8 employs Insulated Concrete Forms, known as ICF’s to build the foundations for the homes they design.  This is like playing with giant Legos.  After excavation, large blocks, similar to giant sized Styrofoam is placed with re-bar.  Then concrete is poured in.  The result is an insulated and incredibly strong foundation.  The ICF’s are not too challenging to work with; a construction crew member can easily lift one by himself.

1365 norwood home by workshop8
photo compliments of WORKSHOP8 website with

That cannot be said for SIP – Structurally Integrated Panels – that WORKSHOP8 employs for most of the rest of the construction process.  These immense panels require planning and a crane for installation.

Brandy LeMae tells me the state of the art materials bring advantages for the homes and businesses WORKSHOP8 creates. SIPs guarantee a home’s envelope reaches maximum energy efficiency.  The panels have an insulated foam core surrounded by hard exterior materials. Sort of like a giant ice cream sandwich.

The materials are very well suited to the contemporary architecture that is the heart and soul of WORKSHOP8.  Are there downsides? Perhaps that the product is petroleum based or that SIP’s are difficult to reconfigure onsite – another reason why it is so critical to have thorough and well thought out plans prior to starting the work.

Form, Function  And Style

When Joseph or Brandy meets with a client, the desire is to thoroughly understand the project. Is the primary cook a chef? A baker? Or perhaps the kitchen is just for show.  Depending upon the answer, the crew at this creative contemporary agency can better understand where to invest your budget for the ideal opportunity.

commercial development
The creative folks brought new – the central foreground building – with old, the surrounding remodeled structures.

Workshop8 Creates Contemporary Architecture Across Boulder and Denver.  Their track record includes office buildings, apartments and amazing single family residences.  In fact, they designed The Brother, a high end home that sold in Boulder in April.  It was the priciest closing the week of the fifth of April.   See it here.  They have also designed multifamily housing in The Holiday neighborhood of NoBo.

The draftsmen at Workshop8 in Boulder love to incorporate passive solar and well thought out site design in planning a home.  The planners have utilized photovoltaic and energy efficiency.  Net Zero is the goal – achieved on occasion, such as in The Ghost House (Lakewood Colo).

Design extends beyond structures.  Nearly 25 years ago, as a college project, Joseph Vigil (primary architect at WORKSHOP8) designed the Peace Garden along the Boulder Creek Path as a college project while at CU Boulder.  It has been an endearing stretch of the path ever since.  The team also dedicated time and effort to redesigning the office space at B-Cycle, Pro Bono.


The goal for this design house? A complete experience: structural (if so required) and civil engineering plus a set of full builder plans including details such as the window package, kitchen and bath design — basically the interior and the exterior.  Fees for this level of service vary, but expect to pay $40,000 to $50,000.  Of course, the firm can draft a Builder’s Set at a much lower price point – likely starting around $10K.  But, part of what makes a home authentic and original is having all the details just right.

Maximizing Their Space

In addition to her duties at the firm, Brandy is also the CEO of The Candy Shop, one of the many Boulder Co-Working spaces sprouting up.  I blogged on that was well here.  The Candy Shop occupies the second floor of the building.  Tenants get great perks; a kitchen, shower to enable working out at any hour without having to drive home and all a block from Pearl Street Mall.

WORKSHOP8 Contact Info

  •  1720 15th St, Boulder, CO 80302
  • (303) 442-3700



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