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Design Build Windcatcher House


College of Architecture and Planning

The College of Architecture and Planning offers a graduate certificate in the emerging area of design build as an extension of the Master of Architecture program.

The design build certificate centers on the practical application of architectural theory and promotes a blend of hands-on skills, creative design, and cutting edge materials to construct buildings for communities in need. Participants receive a graduate certificate in design build that requires a total of 18 semester hours, all of which count toward the MArch curriculum requirements. 

ColoradoBuildingWorkshop is the design build initiative of the Department of Architecture that serves the broader community by partnering with non-profit organizations on a variety of innovative projects. Learn more about the program and its projects on the Colorado Building Workshop website​.


For graduate students entering Studio IV at CU Denver, ColoradoBuildingWorkshop offers a unique opportunity to focus 18 credits of study on design build with an emphasis on integrated project delivery. Students must apply to this program in order to participate. Applications are accepted the semester before Studio IV is offered. Students who are accepted into the ColoradoBuildingWorkshop will be required to complete all 18 credit hours of the Design Build Certificate. Applicants are notified of their acceptance prior to registration for the coming semester and given registration codes to add the required courses.

ARCH 5140 ColoradoBuildingWorkshop studio, ARCH 6471 Managing Quality and Risk and ARCH 6373 Construction in Design Build are only available to students accepted into the program. ARCH 6370 Intro to Design Build and ARCH 6472 Architecture as a Single Source Project delivery are available to any student in the MArch program on a space available basis.


​Course Number ​Course Name ​Credits ​Offered
​ARCH 6370 ​Introduction to Design Build ​3 ​Fall
​ARCH 6471 ​Managing Quality and Risk ​3 ​Spring
​ARCH 6472 ​Architecture as a Single Source Project Delivery ​3 Spring​
​ARCH 5140 ​Studio IV: Design Build ​6 ​Spring
​ARCH 6373 ​Construction in Design Build ​3 ​Maymester
​Credits required for certificate ​18


The 18-hour curriculum addresses the basics of Design Build and Integrated Project Delivery methods for MArch graduate students.

ARCH 6370: Introduction to Design Build (3 credits)
Offered every Fall
  • Introduces the student to the project delivery methods and the history of these methods both in the United States and the world.
  • Compares Design-Build and integrated project delivery methods with other traditional delivery methods, including Design-Bid-Build, Construction Manager at Risk, and Owner's Agent as Construction Manager.
  • Examines the traditional and current roles of Owner, Architect, Consultants, General Contractor and Subcontractors.
  • Examines previous Architect/Contractor relations and the code of ethics required for emerging trends in Design-Build and Integrated Project Delivery.
  • Examines successful project management and the qualities of leadership, including confidence, vision, knowledge and empowerment. 

ARCH 6471: Managing Quality and Risk (3 credits)
Offered every Spring
  • Understanding the importance of quality assurance for Design-Build, especially early in the process.
  • Explores successful approaches to risk management, including contracts, insurance and uncontrollable acts.
  • Studies the fundamentals of pro forma and other financial analysis formats including design fees, permits, FF&E, financing, land costs, legal costs, etc.
  • Studies the fundamentals of real estate.
  • Identifies the various insurance coverages necessary for Design-Build, including professional liability, general liability, builder's risk, defective workmanship, worker's compensation, and performance and bid bonds.
  • Identifies and compares the various Design-Build contracts available.
  • Examines various forms of dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and litigation, and the successful track record for Design-Build.

ARCH 6472: Architecture as a Single Source Project Delivery (3 credits) 
Offered every Spring
  • Creates a general understanding of principles of design and problem solving used by architects.
  • Examines the traditional phases of design and their relationship to each other. Explores the role of the Architect during Construction Administration.
  • Identifies typical requirements of building codes, zoning ordinances and other regulatory requirements.
  • Gives the student a general introduction to building systems.
  • Examines the importance of site design and building context for a project.
  • Creates a general understanding of the Developer’s and Contractor's roles during design and construction.​

ARCH 5140: Studio IV: Design Build (6 credits)
Offered every Spring
  • This 'studio' environment brings together students of various backgrounds and professions for a final 'capstone' project, and encourages the ability of individuals and teams to create solutions based on a predefined set of criteria.
  • The group study emphasizes the importance of teaming.
  • Students are given a chance to develop a program, project schedule, project estimate and other requirements for the project.
  • Teams of students are brought together to develop a solution, involving design and construction models.

ARCH 6373: Construction in Design Build (3 credits)
Offered every Maymester
  • Examines systems that seamlessly integrate construction into the design phase of a project, specifically in conceptual pricing analysis from preliminary pricing packages and the early identification of building systems and components.
  • Examines the various levels of cost estimating (conceptual, performance, and hard bid), organizing methods (systems, costs/square foot, components), and tracking trends during construction.
  • Explores software available for scheduling, estimating and project management. Examines the traditional construction means and methods used by Contractors.
  • Examines the role of the project manager and the many skill sets required to lead a team from project concept to completion.
  • Examines the importance of job site safety and its role on the job site and with Construction trades.
  • Teams then actually construct their design solution from the Advanced Studio.

For information on the certificate program please contact Katherine Hartung at 303.315.0141 or by email​.


ColoradoBuildingWorkshop won the 2016 AIA Colorado Innovative Practices Award

The Colorado Outward Bound School Micro Cabins won the 2016 Architizer A+ Award, Typology Categories Residential: Private House (xs)

ColoradoBuildingWorkshop students won the 2016 American Architecture Prize in the Student Architecture category for their work on the Colorado Outward Bound School Micro Cabins

The Lamar Urban Farming Classroom was awarded the 2015-2016 ACSA Design Build Award​

The Colorado Outward Bound School Micro Cabins were covered in the story ”My Side of the Mountain“ in the December/January 2016 issue of Dwell magazine​

The Colorado Outward Bound School Micro Cabins were covered in the story “The Biggest Little Cabins” in the Fall 2016 issue of Modern In Denver magazine​.

The Design Build project Nakai House was featured in The New York Times​ on June 20, 2013.

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