Designing HKS’ New Mile High Office

By Tom Harvey

HKS Denver, led by Tom Harvey, recently moved to new quarters in the North Tower of 999 18th Street. Infused with the spirit of Colorado, the new space reflects our values and commitment to the local community and beyond. Currently housing 22 team members, the office has the capacity to double in size and the 6,600-square-foot space in Denver Place aims to achieve LEED Platinum and WELL certification. Tom, a 40-year veteran of design, consulting and strategic planning, joined us for a few moments to discuss the future of our office in the Mile-High City and what the community can expect as HKS continues to invest in it.

What’s HKS’ story so far in Denver?

We’ve been designing projects in Colorado for nearly five decades now. This work spans health, hospitality, corporate, corrections and public facilities. We’ve had a small physical presence in Denver since 2001 and the Denver office officially opened in 2011. We are now locally producing work in mixed use, residential, assembly and health care. We’re looking to expand our local portfolio with corporate, mixed-use, hospitality, assembly and sports projects. 

How do you define Denver’s work for the future?

On the health side, there are nine major health systems based here, some of them national. That’s a lot of opportunity and we expect to garner a considerable portion of that over time. We have acquired local projects in corporate, mixed-use, assembly and aviation sectors within the last year and we expect to add hospitality to that list soon.

What impression do you want clients to take away from this new office space?

We work in a highly transparent setting where you can see the action and feel the energy and excitement of design as it incubates. We’re a team of creative and open-minded individuals who believe transparency and collaboration are the cornerstones of successful design. We deliver high design and high performance with consideration to operational costs and environmental stewardship, and our work environment reflects this philosophy.

What does this office mean for the HKS Denver staff?

People are our most valuable resource. We want to provide them a work setting in which they can thrive and be their best. We have a couple gray hairs like me to lead this office, but we also have a bunch of extremely bright young people that have withstood the heat of large projects. The openness and adaptability of our environment supports their work styles, facilitates rapid learning and incorporates places for formal and spontaneous social gatherings.

What does this new space signify to Denver’s community at large?

We’re going to be more visible members of Denver’s business community. We participate in many local events and we’re building new relationships to enhance our reach and appreciation of our community’s needs. We live in a city with civic leadership that is highly supportive of development and we want to be foundational contributors to that growth. We are local and want to be seen as local.

How will the office serve the community?

We’re very excited about our new home and we intend to host many events within our space to build familiarity with HKS throughout the community. One example is the American Institute of Architects’ Charles Kelly Leadership Program, which trains young leaders in architecture. We both sponsor this program financially and will host events related to it. In my first year here, we organized and hosted a symposium on design for ambulatory care for health care leaders in the area. There are many ways that people can expect us to support opportunities in Denver, and over time HKS will become a household name in Denver. We’re committed to growing with the community.

Tom Harvey

Tom Harvey is a Principal at HKS. He is president and principal-in-charge of the non-profit Center for Advanced Design Research & Evaluation. He has a strong background in strategic and operational planning as well as lean programming and design for health care clients.