Kelly Davis, OZ principal and one of the leads of the firm’s urban living and workplace practice areas, participated in a discussion about Denver’s future, particularly its downtown corridor, for the BisNow event: The Future of Downtown Denver. In addition to discussing some of the projects OZ is working on downtown, including the new VF Corp headquarters, the World Trade Center, and Platte 15, Denver’s first cross laminated timber (CLT) project, Kelly focused on some of the key trends he is identifying in urban projects.
Foremost is the need for more office space. Downtown Denver is experiencing a rapid influx of companies, small and large. These companies are recruiting talent and distinguishing themselves based on their downtown location, and leveraging the vibrant neighborhoods of LoDo, Platte River, RiNo, Union Station and others as employee perks. Kelly discussed how corporations are looking for office spaces that reflect their values and brand. Whether it’s a climbing wall at VF Corp, biophillic design elements for a company with strong sustainability positioning, or an abundance of flexible co-working space for a millennial-focused workforce, OZ is helping companies tailor their spaces to demonstrate their corporate personalities, too.
Finally, Kelly and the entire panel discussed how important quality is in architectural design and development. Denver’s rapid growth has many developers and city planners on their heels as they try to keep up with the demand for more housing, office space and retail. The temptation is to cut quality in favor of quantity. This ‘just-get-it-built’ attitude is not good for the long-term benefit of our city, Kelly claimed. As a supporter of design reviews in rapidly changing areas of the city, Kelly emphasized the importance of taking the time to get it right.
Kelly said, “These buildings should last 60 years or more. We need to take the time to consider how they reflect our city, what value they add to our downtown neighborhoods, and to ensure the materials and design-thinking that goes into them stand the test of time. It takes a collaboration of architects, developers, construction firms and city leaders to make quality happen.”
Kelly will continue this discussion about urban design and density at the upcoming Denver Design Week event, where he will lead a panel of urbanists as they discuss “Designing for Density.”