The SILO Sustainable Neighborhood


After ten years of research, design, and democratic process, SUN Studio is excited to announce that the SILO sustainable neighborhood in Lafayette, Colorado received unanimous approval from the Lafayette Planning Commission on November 29th, 2016.  Groundbreaking is scheduled for summer 2017.

As Commissioner Doug Godfrey said: “…this is a new way of looking at design.”  “It’s what more communities should be doing and should be aspiring to.”

SILO is model sustainable neighborhood that incorporates passive solar, high-performance, net-zero energy homes; green infrastructure; urban agriculture; aging in place; and a diversity of home sizes into a compact, walkable, urban mixed-use neighborhood.  Located near the cross roads of highways 287 and 7 in Lafayette, Colorado, the buildings at SILO are clustered close to regional public transit leaving almost half the acreage as parks and rural conservation.

The SILO Sustainable Neighborhood

Article in the Daily Camera:

Cornerstone Homes Development Company’s Webpage:


“The Culture of Green Neighborhoods” Published in new book

Michael Tavel’s essay, “The Culture of Green Neighborhoods,” argues that sustainable design should emphasize beautiful experiences that can underlie sustainable lifestyles. Sustainability, he writes, is not embodied in a technology, a policy or a thing. It is; rather, a cultural practice, and a creative opportunity. And we should treat it so.

The essay is now available in the new book titled In Pursuit of a Living Architecture: Continuing Christopher Alexander’s Quest for a Humane and Sustainable Building Culture, edited by Kyriakos Pontikis and Yodan Rofe.

Christopher Alexander is a renowned architect, and the author of many famous books on architecture and urbanism including “A Pattern Language,” “The Timeless Way of Building,” “A New Theory of Urban Design,” and “The Nature of Order.” Michael studied with and worked for Christopher Alexander in the late 1980s.

The book is available for purchase here:

Or download the article in pdf form here:…/TheCultureOfGreenNeighborhoods_Tavel_2016.pdf

Jim Leach Career Retrospective Lecture and Exhibit, April 11th


We have set up a lecture by our dear friend Jim Leach, a leading developer of cohousing and sustainable communities, at the CU Boulder Program in Environmental Design on Monday, April 11th at 5:45 PM.

It will accompany a career retrospective exhibit.  It would be wonderful if you could come honor Jim, and hear him reflect about his five decades of efforts in building healthy communities.

ENVD will also be offering 1.5 AIA HSW continuing education credits for architects.

The lecture begins at 5:45 on Monday, April 11th.  It is at ENVD, 1060 18th street, Boulder, CO 80309, on campus.  Parking is available in the Euclid parking garage across the street from the school.

We hope to see you there!


Two Job Openings in Sustainable Urban Neighborhood Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design

SUN studio, a progressive, award-winning, architecture, urban design and landscape design firm specializing in sustainable urban neighborhoods, is hiring.

Our projects are net-zero energy, sustainable urban neighborhoods that incorporate green building, green infrastructure, urban agriculture, and which support sustainable lifestyles.

We are hiring two positions. Designers may be interdisciplinary with skills and passions that incorporate both job descriptions.
• Intern or early career architect with a passion for green buildings, produced with digital prefabrication. Excellent design skills, and knowledge of Revit.
• Intern or early career architect/urban designer/landscape architect with a passion for green neighborhood design, green infrastructure, horizontal infrastructure design and construction documents, and planning approval documents. Excellent design skills, and knowledge of autocad and sketchup.

Please send email to Michael Tavel about your interest. Email him at this address:

Thank you!

Michael Tavel

Announcing SUN Studio

After decades of collaboration, and two and a half years working under the radar as one design firm, Michael Tavel, David Kahn, and Alex Platt have gone public with their new firm name: SUN Studio, specializing in the design of Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods. We are very grateful to our clients, several of whom are pioneers in sustainable neighborhood development.  Please check out our new website!

Geos Construction Update

The Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood, developed by Norbert Klebl and winner of many design awards, broke ground in August of 2015. Infrastructure for Phase I was installed in the fall, and foundations are currently under construction for the first five dwelling units.  Deep thanks go out to Norbert Klebl for his persistence in pursuing a model sustainable neighborhood.  Pictured: Michael Tavel, David Kahn, and Norbert Klebl this past fall at Geos.

Beautiful Landscape Design in La Jolla, CA Completed

SUN Studio are the landscape architects on this indoor-outdoor house just now completed in La Jolla, California.

Project Info and details

Weems Neighborhood receives Sketch Plan approval from the Lafayette Planning Commission

SUN Studio is working on the design of a sustainable net-zero energy neighborhood in Lafayette, Colorado. The project will emphasize a sustainable lifestyle including access to public transit, urban agriculture, passive solar, and designed to work for a diversity of ages and family types, and support aging in place.  The 80-acre parcel includes extensive rural open space, parks, trails and up to 480 dwelling units.  The Sketch Plan was approved by the Lafayette Planning Commission on December 2nd, 2015.