Construction Administration: What it is and its benefits for an Owner.

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

In most projects that we're involved with, we include Construction Administration (CA) within our list of architectural services.  It's the phase of the project during construction, after a contractor has been hired.  Many times, a client who is reviewing the fee proposal at the onset of a project may see this as a disposable architectural service: Why continue to keep the architect on board when the contractor is the one building the project?  The contractor will just take the drawings and work through all the issues (including unforeseen, which is inevitable), build the project per the design drawings and specifications, and do it in a timely manner, right? 

Even with exquisitely detailed drawings and specifications, it is in the Owner's best interest to hire the Architect for the Construction Administration phase.  At gebhartstudio, CA is a service that is an integral part of the fee structure, which emphasizes how very important this time of a project is.  We, as Architects, are also responsible for the health, safety and welfare of a project, which makes it all the more important that our involvement continues through CA to the end. If the project was bid out to a number of contractors, and the lowest bidder is taken, the Architect can help make sure the Owner is getting what they paid for.  Too often the lowest bidder can try and cut corners with low-quality, shoddy materials or poor workmanship, which can result in construction defects months or years later that the Owner has to deal with.  Other issues that arise can be frustrating to an Owner: lack of communication by the Contractor, multiple failed inspections because they hired inexperienced workers, many unexplained delays, flat out lies & misinformation.  All of this can lead to a huge headache, an unsettling environment (especially if it's your house!) and long, costly projects with no end.  Too often than not, without an Architect on board for the Construction Administration phase, the project suffers.


During Construction Administration, the Architect will:

  • Attend (sometimes lead) a regular (weekly, bi-weekly, etc) on-site meeting with the Owner and Contractor to discuss issues that have arisen (many begin to be resolved beforehand via phone or email).  Many of these issues can be resolved very quickly with all parties on-site and results in a more efficient construction process.
  • Review the project progress and quality (site observation).  Often, gebhartstudio will create a photographic site observation showing both images of progress as well as images of issues that need resolution.
  • Review project data sheets or submittals, or answer RFIs (Request For Information) from the Contractor, issue ASIs (Architect's Supplementary Instruction) or Change Orders. 
  • Review contractor Pay Applications.  These payments to the Contractor are given at different stages of construction and give leverage to assure the Owner is getting what they're paying for. 
  • Create a Punchlist at the substantial completion of a project and later confirm it's been followed before final closeout, Certificate Of Occupancy and final payment occur.

On a more personal note, we at gebhartstudio love to participate in all phases of a project, but there's something so special about CA.  We see our role as being a team-member: joined with the Owner and the Contractor, to help oversee the creation of the built project that we have been conceptualizing and drawing for months, as well as seeing an extremely happy & satified Client.  It's important to know that we work very well with Contractors; many of the most fulfilling professional experiences we've had have come during CA, teamed with a good Contractor, helping to see those ideas/sketches become built reality.






Institutional Work: University & College

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Recent work in the University and College space has been interesting and rewarding.  Much of the interior design work shown below is creating comfortable and enriching educational spaces for students and facility to learn, work and collaborate in.

First, it's always rewarding to visit a space years after it was built to see how it's being used and whether the client is happy (they love it). 

The gallery within the Fulginiti Pavilion at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus which I worked on years ago, while employed at AR7/NAC Architecture, has a beautiful polished concrete floor that still looks amazing and gives the minimal space a feeling of lightness and brightness (great work by Milender White Construction):

Fortunately, we've been able to do design a number of other projects on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus since then, including a remodel/expansion project of 6 student lounge spaces (furniture by others).  See more in the project pages


Gebhart Studio also had the pleasure of teaming with NeoEra to help design a Radiation Lab at Metropolian State University of Denver on the downtown Auraria campus.  The design made the best use out of a very awkward existing space and warmed it up with wood casework, good efficient lighting, and a somewhat flexible layout (tough for a lab).  Sensitive existing equipment had to be accounted for and designed around, which added to the space planning challenges.  The project is currently on hold for extra funding needed for building infrastructure upgrades:

Radiation Lab.jpg

Finally, I've been involved in a number of commercial space interior remodel projects at the Community College of Aurora: a number of new office suites, a testing center for incoming students, a faculty lounge and the vice chancellor's suite.  Pictures to come.

Final Inspections

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

The interiors of the Arvada house are almost complete, and the final inspections are ongoing.

The concrete kitchen countertop will be poured and finished soon, but the appliances and cabinets are in, as well as lighting, painting and the wood floor.

The two new bathroom concrete sinks have been polished and look great.

The entire house has beautifully colored wood flooring and a wood base made of pine beetlekill.  The rear door is also framed, and will lead out onto a future exterior porch on the sunny west side of the house. 

All interior doors have been hung on modern sliding door hardware.  It really adds an element of sophistication to the remodeled part of the house.


Added on by Chris Gebhart.

The beauty of the finished exterior of the Arvada House is really shaping up in its details, with pine beetlekill siding and trim wrapping the house.

On the inside of the additon, the wood trusses have been stained, and the interior painted.  Beautiful wood flooring is installed but covered for protection while other work gets done.  Pine beetlekill wood base will finish the space off soon.

The owners wanted to open up the spaces of the existing house, and we went with modern sliding barn doors between the laundry/kitchen, and bedrooms/entry hall to give them flexibility.

Both renovated bathrooms have beautiful new concrete countertops with integral sinks.  They will be polished soon, before stainless steel fixtures are installed. 

Arvada House Update

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

The addition on the west side of the Arvada House is fully enclosed!  The windows, exterior door and roofing have been installed, the wood siding is going up (more on this below), and interior drywall work is ongoing.   The massing of the addition feels very appropriate for the neighborhood and ties directly into the older house.

Wrapping the exterior wall of the addition as well as the older house, is new pine beetle kill siding.  This is reclaimed timber from the damaged forests of the West, and has beautiful, unique color variation.


On the existing house, the new siding has been installed above the original red sandstone veneer and below the original roof, replacing the original weathered siding.  The original windows have also been replaced with new, energy efficient ones, with bigger lites.

The living room space is fully enclosed and offers lots of light on three sides and views out to the site.  The vaulted ceiling rises up near the window wall and exposes the roof structure.  This maximizes the light and views, while keeping the height of the addition's roof the same as the original house. 

The new kitchen opening into the living room is dry-walled in and will be a part of the social center of the house. Most of the existing house is dedicated to "private" functions while the addition is designed to be the more "public" part of the house.

Arvada House Construction

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Construction of the Arvada House remodel and addition has been ongoing through October & November, and the project, both inside and out, is really taking shape. 

After the concrete pour for the new addition, the wood framed walls began to rise.  Prefabricated wood trusses were placed, and window openings framed.  The stock truss plates will be replaced later by more aesthetic steel plates, as the trusses are exposed in the living room.


 The new north wall of the addition was built around the existing fireplace, and will become a nice centerpiece to the living room.  The transparency of the west elevation is now apparent, and will bring in nice views of the site and light into the house. 

Arvada House Demolition

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Demolition has begun on the Arvada House addition and remodel project.  Demolition is an exciting time, as it not only marks the beginning of construction, but begins to reveal the intentions of the project. The existing one-story 1,400 sf house sits on a beautiful 43,500 sf lot in Arvada, CO, with good views of the foothills to the west, near Golden.  The site has a number of beautiful mature trees that provide shade from the harsh southwestern/western sun, and has space for the house to grow.


The one story addition will be built off the back of the existing house, seamlessly tying into the existing roofline, and will take advantage of the view to the west with lots of glass (shaded with an overhanging roof).


The existing house is relatively dark and compartmentalized.  The idea is to change that and open it up, especially from the kitchen area, out to the addition to the west, where there will be a large living space.  This living space will then open up to a large deck. 

Best Denver Rooftop Bars | Restaurants Part 2

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Part 2: here are 5 other fantastic examples of rooftop spaces, 4 in Denver and 1 in Boulder.  Aside from the rooftop of David Adjaye’s MCA, all are built upon existing buildings.  I’m very impressed by the recently completely ViewHouse restaurant/bar, which gutted and renovated an older building and added a huge rooftop space, along with an exterior space on the ground level which has a volleyball court!  In fact, there are 5 large unique spaces at this restaurant, all of which were really well designed.  The rooftop architecture is split in two: half with inside seating (and sliding floor to ceiling windows) and half a large sprawling urban terrace with huge views of downtown and nearby Coors Field.  The rooftop of the MCA is also very well executed, with glowing glass strips that let light down into the museum during the day and glow with interior light at night. All are great examples of utilizing the roof and creating memorable experiences from the architecture as well as the views. Listed are: Ignite! Denver, Vita, ViewHouse, MCA Denver, and the Rio in Boulder


Best Denver Rooftop Bars | Restaurants Part 1

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Part 1: Here are five great rooftop restaurant/bars in downtown Denver.  Each clearly has it’s own identity and feel (sports bar, lounge, upscale restaurant etc.) but each takes advantage of the great views around town with the mountains juxtaposed in the background.  Architecturally most were added on an existing older building, which I believe is a great use of otherwise underutilized space.  For a city with such great weather, it’s a natural desire of most to take advantage of the outdoors.  In an urban environment, it’s not always possible to build out to create outdoor space.  By building up on an open rooftop, it’s possible to grab outdoor space that will make each establishment more desirable, attractive and memorable to patrons. These five are Ale House at Amato, Vita, GrooveTop, Linger, The Irish Rover:


AIA Convention | Denver

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Scenes from the 2013 AIA Convention in Denver.  3 days of stimulating interaction with architects, builders, industry leaders and great people who care about the built environment.  Took a number of continuing ed classes and toured my home city via the many architectural bike tours.  It was a great way to see downtown from another person’s eyes.  Got to meet a ton of FAIA members in the VIP lounge thanks to my Dad, the Fellow :)



Rooftop Performance Spaces

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

One of the best things about summer in Colorado is a night out listening to music or watching a movie at Red Rocks amphitheater. The incredible open air theater was built by the CCC in 1941, set respectfully into the large red rock formations in the foothills west of Denver.  The blending of architecture and nature is near perfect.  Movie night is a very popular attraction, with capacity crowds squeezing in weekly to watch films, have a picnic and enjoy the summer evening overlooking the lights of Denver. 

Austin, TX has a new rooftop venue at the AMOA Arthouse where movies (art/architecture) are screened under the Texas stars.  Close up views of Austin’s skyline from this aerie vantage-point are had, while viewers enjoy the movie and each others company.  It’s a very casual atmosphere, and the space is very flexible so different events can be accommodated.  It has many of the same qualities of Red Rocks Amphitheater, in a more urban setting. The use of the Arthouse’s “fifth” facade is a great rooftop architectural success, not only as a movie venue, but as a sought-after event space for the public.


Rooftops (cont.)

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

These roofscapes offer an array of open-air experiences - drinks and dining, lounging under beautiful landscapes and inspiring unobstructed city views.  In a city where open space is at a premium (NYC) these spaces offer a dramatic place to watch the sun set after work and gaze across the incredible megapolis from a bird’s eye vantage point.  Many are go to attractions for tourists and locals alike, and owners are very aware of this.  Their investment in creating an occupiable rooftop space often is rewarded with good profitability.

Rooftop Architecture

Added on by Chris Gebhart.

Rooftop architecture can be one of the most exciting and unexpected highlights of a building. Spaces for gathering, such as this lounge shown, can make what would typically be an unsightly roof of tar or rubber, into a place for a occupant to the building to uniquely engage with the surrounding context (whether it be urban or natural). Activating the roof with life humanizes it’s scale from many perspectives.

Through this blog, RufDek | GebhartStudioArchitects will illustrate exciting, innovative and beautiful examples of how the roof is being utilized in creative ways that brings enormous return to the owners of the property. Dinner and drinks with a scenic view of the New York skyline; an evening movie on an Austin rooftop; a nighttime swim in a pool overlooking the Rocky Mountains.  These are some of the experiences one can have from rooftop architecture.