Solar Village, Prospect New Town, Longmont
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, Arvada
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, Arvada
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Prospect House 4, Prospect New Town, Longmont
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Solar Village, Prospect New Town, Longmont
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Sling Shot House, Coos Bay, Oregon
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Las Cupulas, Sayulita, Mexico, with Lathrop Strang and Erik Hendrix
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Prospect Studios Live-Work, Prospect New Town, Longmont
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, Arvada
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design
Rapp House (Green Prefab), Summit County
Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Design

Our Approach

SUN studio’s work is distinguished by attention to these themes:

Sustainable Lifestyle

SUN Studio designs neighborhoods, buildings, and landscapes for user-friendly sustainable living. Most people want to care for the environment and their community. This is the key to sustainability. Smart design can help make a healthy and sustainable lifestyle convenient, and dignified. We specialize in crafting environments where saving and generating energy, conserving water, growing fresh food, and healthy living can be second nature.

  • Greensburg Green Neighborhoods, winner of the 2010 Colorado AIA Honor Award, proposed climate-responsive, net-zero energy housing for a diversity of family types, and which supports urban agriculture, composting, and walking.

  • Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, winner of a 2009 National Honor Award and under construction in 2016, integrates passive solar, stormwater, and agriculture within a walkable mixed-use community.
  • Solar Village, at Prospect New Town, 2006, winner of many awards, combines urban residential mixed-use with passive solar, and year-round outdoor living.
  • Cities should be safe and delightful are for all ages, all times of year. 3312 Osage Street courtyard garden, Denver.
  • Living over the store: Ninth and Pearl mixed-use, Boulder, CO, 1999, with Wolff Lyon Architects.
  • Urban life should be interesting. Mona’s Restaurant, 15th Street at Platte, Denver.
  • Passive solar and balanced daylight make for comfortable homes that live large. 3312 Osage remodel, Denver.
  • Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, Arvada, winner of a 2009 National Honor Award and under construction since 2015, optimizes passive solar heating and shading within a compact, walkable neighborhood.
  • Sun Studio integrates passive solar design into the layout of compact urban neighborhoods.
  • Passive solar is achieved with traditional building elements: Porches and deciduous trees shade east and west sides of homes; eaves cover south facing windows but let in the heat from the low winter sun. Geos Solar Cottage, 2016.
  • Prospect House 4, Longmont, 2000, combines traditional approaches to passive solar heating and shading with a high performance building envelope.
  • Solar Village at Prospect Newtown in Longmont optimizes three-story mixed use urban buildings with passive solar heating and shading. Each home has a sunny south-facing terrace that is comfortable year-round.
  • Our homes are designed to fit their local climate. If the winter nights are cool, we provide a nice place eat your breakfast in the morning sun. If the locale is cloudy, we fill the homes with daylight. Slingshot house, Coos Bay, Oregon, 2007.
  • Our yards are designed to be comfortable and livable year round, like outdoor rooms. Greensburg Green Neighborhoods, winner of the 2010 Colorado AIA Honor Award.
  • Sidewalks, parks, and greens should be shady in summer, sunny in winter, and passively irrigated by the flow of storm runoff. Greensburg Green Neighborhoods, 2010.
  • Shade and shadow keep homes cool in summer. Ninth and Pearl Mixed-Use, Boulder, 1999 with Wolff Lyon Architects, winner of a Colorado AIA Citation Award.
  • A breakfast nook reaches out to the morning sun. Slingshot house, Coos Bay, Oregon.

Design with Climate

Sustainability starts by designing for local climate and utilizing passive, non-technological strategies to conserve resources.  For energy efficiency this includes smart site planning to maximize passive solar heating and interior day lighting, while minimizing excess heat gain in summer, or heat loss in winter.  Furthermore, buildings and landscapes are designed in harmony with the features and challenges of their surroundings.

For water efficiency this means choreographing the flow of rainfall and snow melt to passively irrigate landscapes that provide food, shade, microclimates, habitat, and biodiversity.  For living this means creating indoor/outdoor environments that harmonize with the elements and promote everyday use throughout the seasons.

Urban Nature

Sun Studio specializes in weaving natural processes into the built environment. We carefully assess the features of a site to choose where to build and where to preserve, to create the highest quality outdoor spaces, ecosystems, and habitats. At a neighborhood scale, solar oriented blocks and lots, green infrastructure, percolation parks, ecological zones, nature play, and bio-civic realms are woven into the urban fabric. At the scale of the home and landscape we look for opportunities to integrate sun, water, and vegetation with everyday life.

  • The flow of water nourishes life. Prospect Studios Live/Work, Longmont, 2003.
  • Green Roof, Solar Village, Prospect New Town, 2006.
  • Geos percolation parks integrate the flow of water with the life of people.
  • Street tree rain garden, Geos Neighborhood, Arvada.
  • Geos percolation park, with community garden, fruit tree terraces, and child’s play.
  • Places are for animals. Stockert House, Prospect New Town, Longmont, 2000.
  • Agriculture and children at the heart: Greensburg Green Neighborhoods, 2010.
  • In hot dry environments, cooling comes from water, greenery, and the earth. Las Cupulas, Sayulita, Mexico.
  • Nature is something that people do. Solar Village, Prospect New Town, 2006.
  • Outdoor spaces should be like outdoor rooms – comfortable as year-round living spaces and making smaller homes live large. Las Cupulas, Sayulita, Mexico.
  • Las Cupulas, with Lathrop Strang and Erik Hendrix.
  • Homes should open in the winter sun, and support acclimating one’s lifestyle to the seasons. Solar Village, Prospect New Town, 2006.
  • The most comfortable environment in a neighborhood should be the sidewalk. Ninth and Pearl Mixed Use, Boulder, with Wolff Lyon Architects, 1999.
  • Backyard terrace, Racclugia garden, Boulder.
  • Indoor-outdoor room, Las Cupulas, Sayulita.
  • Condos can live large by opening to the outdoors. Ninth and Pearl Mixed-Use, Boulder, 1999 with Wolff Lyon Architects.
  • Benches should be beautiful, Prospect Studios Live/Work, Prospect New Town.
  • Fences are for lovers. 3312 Osage, Denver.

Outdoor Living

At SUN Studio we focus attention on creating outdoor environments that are rich and layered in uses and experiences, and provide for a healthy sustainable lifestyle.  We craft great indoor-outdoor relationships between buildings and landscapes to create microclimates for outdoor living, and intimate landscape detailing for activity and comfort.

At the neighborhood scale we plan for threaded pedestrian-oriented pathways and places, gathering and event spaces, community gardens and agriculture, nature play and ecological areas.  Blocks, lots, and buildings are designed to provide sunny south facing courtyards for gardening, gathering, cooking, and dining.

High Performance

Sun Studio designs neighborhoods, buildings, and landscapes that conserve and harness sustainable resources.  Climate smart site planning is coupled with innovative green building design, technology, and construction.  This includes passive house architectural principles, active and passive solar, geothermal heating and cooling, and energy efficient, durable building systems, materials, and components.

Our landscapes provide comfortable microclimates for sustainable outdoor living and practical use.  We employ green infrastructure to perform valuable ecological services such as biological stormwater filtration, passive irrigation, evaporative cooling, urban heat reduction, and food production.

  • Passive Solar drops heating and cooling demands by a third. High performance envelopes drop them by another third. An energy recovery ventilation system covers the last third to set up a net-zero energy building.
  • With energy demands so low, photovoltaic panels can offset one’s electricity consumption. Solar Village, Prospect New Town, 2006.
  • Solar Village Homes developed air-tight, factory built, modular construction. Rapp house, Summit County.
  • Thistle affordable housing in Boulder utilizes passive solar orientation and high performance pre-fab construction.
  • High performance windows, such as Alpen, have well-insulated frames and tuned glazing. Here a zinc clad bay window provides shade, connection to the outdoors, and is designed to last generations. 3312 Osage Street addition, Denver, 2015.
  • A sustainable building should be durable, enjoyable, and built to last. Solar Village, Prospect New Town, 2006.
  • Solar Village at Prospect New Town integrates Solar Thermal panels, and passive heating and cooling into the architecture.
  • Thermal mass can keep homes cool in summer, warm in winter. Las Cupulas, Sayulita, Mexico.
  • Private yards should also be high performance, incorporating sustainable features and supporting a sustainable lifestyle. Greensburg Green Neighborhoods, 2010.
  • Landscapes are high performance, integrating stormwater runoff with passive irrigation. Geos Neighborhood, Arvada.