For Basford, doing the bare minimum is simply not an option. Whether it is his ambition to continue the legacy of Davis Partnership Architects as a future partner, or the values his grandmother and family instilled in him, Basford is on the fast track to leadership in the Colorado architecture community.


Kurt Basford_land (002)Basford attended the University of Colorado, Boulder originally as a finance major. But in his fourth year, as he watched his friends about to graduate, Basford’s artistic inclination was calling and he wanted to be an architect, so he switched majors—a degree he finished in three years.

He began his architecture career at Brad Adams Walker Architecture, designing 24-hour manned facilities. These included command and control centers for petrochemical companies around the world including Australia and Kazakhstan.

“The recession hit, and on Leap Day 2012, I was let go,” recalled Basford.

Shortly after, however, Basford landed a job at Davis Partnership Architects, where he stated he is “happy as can be.”

“Davis prioritizes the work-life balance,” explained Basford. “They don’t want you to work more than 40 hours a week—they want you to get out and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer.”

That doesn’t mean the job is stress-free, especially when you are charged with the role of project architect for Davis’ new flagship office, housing over 150 architects and designers.

In 2015, Basford was chosen to lead the design of Davis’ new office because of his background in renovations and complex systems integration.

This wasn’t going to be your standard office building, however.

“The goal was to create state-of-the-art sustainability incubator that provided simplistic architectural forms while respecting the existing building structure,” Basford said.

Davis' break room.

Davis’ break room.

But before they could begin construction, they had to wait for the permit, which Basford described as “epically long.” The permit was waiting for approval for 17 weeks, substantially delaying the project. Still, the new Davis office opened its doors in January of 2016.

“There were many sleepless nights in the months leading up to it,” joked Basford.

Davis’ previous lease ended that December, just after the holidays, meaning that if the new office was not ready at the beginning of January, they might have incurred a substantial loss of business.

Davis Partnership-2901 Blake St_Int_08

Davis Partnership office.

Working closely with the contractor, the interior design team, and the mechanical engineer, Basford’s project was a huge success. In fact, the mechanical system is the first-of-its-kind in the country and it reduced energy usage substantially. Originally estimated, utilizing standard equipment, at $8-$12 per square foot per year, the space now utilizes a system that comes in just about $1 per square foot per year. Basford and the mechanical engineer also integrated a completely unique air handling system, which has since been patented by the manufacturer.

The office design has received a variety of awards, including an AIA Colorado Honorable Mention Design Award in 2016 and, most notably, was one of the first projects in the country to receive LEED Gold ID+C for Commercial Interiors under the newly adopted and more rigorous LEED v4.

Future Leader

Basford is driven to extend the 50-year legacy of Davis Partnership Architects as a future partner, and he’s certainly putting in the legwork to get there.

He began by participating in AIA Colorado’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP), where he made a multitude of new connections with peers and potential clients while learning about a variety of project types that can be applied to the firm.

“Through CKLDP, I gained an appreciation for being involved, saw the value of the AIA and learned new leadership skills,” said Basford. “It was the single best decision I’ve made for my career.”

As a result of his participation, he was asked to join the 2017 AIA Denver Board of Directors and now will serve as the chair of the 2018-2019 Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, a role Basford is eager to take on.

“As chair, I want to make sure that scholars walk away from each session with a tangible tool they can immediately apply to their lives and careers,” Basford said.

At the end of the program, he hopes to create a toolset for participants that will hopefully extend the impact of CKLDP, beyond the current nine sessions, and make a big difference both for scholars and their firms.

If that wasn’t enough, Basford was also selected as a volunteer to help plan AIA Colorado’s new Business of Architecture Series—a program for mid-level architects to learn tools and business know-how to build prosperous and sustainable practices.

Through this volunteer committee, Basford has a chance to put his business minor to good use, as well as help design the program that can influence and develop a mid-career architect.

Aspiring Cookbook Author

In his free time, Basford applies the same self-starter attitude to his personal pursuits. StepFest

“If I’m not working, I’m playing golf, on the slopes, or in the kitchen,” Basford said.

A few years ago, Basford competed and won first place in a televised grilling competition, “Grill vs. Grill”. He competed a second time in the “Great Denver Grill Off” competition, where he was paired with a local celebrity chef.

But his passion for grilling didn’t end there, and he even found a way to turn it into community service. He has since hosted and coordinated multiple grilling fundraisers for nonprofits like Shiloh House, Attention Homes and Step Denver.

Basford is also currently writing a cookbook geared toward recent graduates and early career professionals, who may have a limited budget, few cooking skills and only a few pots and pans.

“I want the recipes to be simple and cost-effective, making it easy to entertain” said Basford.

When asked about his passion for giving back, Basford mentions the values he learned from his grandmother, who was very connected to her small Wyoming community during the Great Depression.

“They owned a sheep ranch, so they did not have a problem with putting food on the table, but she saw that others did. So, they donated sheep to the community every couple weeks so that people who could not afford to eat were able to keep their families fed,” explained Basford.

That anecdote has influenced Basford throughout his life and is the foundation of his community involvement.

What’s next on the docket for this future leader? Basford and his fiancé are in the process of planning their August wedding in Steamboat Springs.