A few months ago, Hutton Architecture Studio celebrated its 20th Anniversary.  Actually, we started celebrating on Earth Day last spring, but our Open House in October was the official one.  It led me to reminisce about how we started the office back in 1990.

The office was created from scratch over Labor Day weekend.  I had secured our first commission with the University of Denver to design the Ricks Center for Gifted Children just a few days before and made the difficult decision to leave my mentor, William Muchow, after ten years.  We found a small space to sublease in the Denver Tech Center. 

My wife Christy, who was also our first bookkeeper, helped me move in and set up the office.  Even our children, ages six and four, helped by carrying boxes.  We used our home computer, a DELL 386, as the first office computer.  It wasn’t capable of doing CAD work, so it was primarily for accounting and correspondence.  Like most architects, we were still drafting manually, which continued for the next two years.  And, of course, that was still a few years before any of us had heard of the Internet.  We bought a few desks, chairs, file cabinets, and a conference room table, and we were up and running.     

Within a month, we secured our second commission for the Kent Denver School El Pomar Theater renovation, and began hiring staff.  Nine months after that Labor Day opening, we signed a lease for our first real office space in Greenwood Village.  It was approximately 1,200 square feet, with one private office for me, and a file/storage room.  We stayed there for a few more years and grew to a staff of half a dozen or so. 

Now here we are in early 2011.  We’ve had six different office locations, more than 100 past employees, with 18 current employees (the largest we’ve ever been!), worked on more than 160 educational projects and scores of other project types, and earned dozens of design awards.  We have established ourselves as leaders in sustainable design for the Rocky Mountain region and are beginning to have national influence.  Our work has just begun!