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Erik (Rick) Sommerfeld



Rick Sommerfeld Contact Information:

Phone: 303.315.0008
Office Location: CU Denver Building, 320Q 
Office Hours: As posted

Website link



Degrees Held

  • BENVD University of Colorado Boulder ’97
  • MARCH University of Colorado Denver ‘01

Research Interests

  • Green construction methods and materials

Most Recent Courses

  • Design Studio IV 
  • Advanced Design Studio (Design Build Bluff)  
  • Maintaining Quality Managing Risk
  • Single Source Project Delivery
  • History Native American Architecture (Design Build Bluff)  
  • Construction in Design Build (Design Build Bluff) 
  • Design in the Landscape  


    Erik “Rick” Sommerfeld is an assistant professor of architecture and director of Colorado Building Workshop, the design build program at the University of Colorado Denver. Since founding Colorado Building Workshop in 2009 Rick has built ten community projects in Colorado and, in collaboration with DesignBuildBLUFF, five charitable homes in Southern Utah.

    Rick’s work with Colorado Building Workshop and DesignBuildBLUFF has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Architectural Record, Mark Magazine, and Colorado Architect. His projects have also been covered in two recent books, Urgent Architecture: 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World and Architectural Follies.

    In the last five years, under Rick’s direction, Colorado Building Workshop has exhibited work at the AIA National Convention, Denver International Airport, 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver, and the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Center. His work has received over a dozen local and national awards including the 2015 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award, 2014 ACSA Design Build Award, two AIA Colorado Young Architects' Awards for project of the year, a Western Mountain Region AIA Honor Award and a Gold Hard Hat Award for Outstanding Small Project. Last year his work was on display at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris, France, as part of the exhibit entitled “Grey Matter- material, architecture and reuse.”

    Rick currently teaches architecture courses focusing on green design and construction as well as computer design and architectural graphics. He was selected by faculty and students as the college's "Instructor of the Year" for 2003 and again in 2005. He also holds the college's "Outstanding Graduate Award" for 2001 and was the American Institute of Architect's "AIA Master's Candidate Medal Winner" for 2001. Rick was a Faculty Advisor for the CU 2005 National Solar Decathlon team. His student’s “green” fabrication work has been shown at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Within Reach Studio in Boulder. Rick's professional design practice, the3rdspace in Denver, specializes in innovative residential and small commercial design.

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