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What is an Architect? What do they do?

November 25, 2014

Within the architecture community, sometimes we get so caught up in our projects and deadlines that we are thrown off when someone asks the simple question:

What is an Architect?

In the field of design, it can be difficult to know where one profession ends and another begins, not to mention who is responsible for which aspect of a project, or who has the proper licensing and qualifications to fully meet your needs.

In the realm of architecture in the United States, we have a national organization called the American Institute of Architects, or ‘AIA’ for short.


AIA helps write the ethical code and licensing requirements that all individuals must meet before they can earn the title of ‘Architect’. Not all architects need to be affiliated with AIA to practice, however, the architects who are affiliated with AIA must meet a high level of industry standard, which helps to maintain reliability with those architects on many levels.

AIA has realized that our role as Architect can be confusing, and have therefore released the following short film to help explain. Click below to watch the video, or click here to view a PDF version.

We, at Fletemeyer & Lee, are proud to be affiliated with AIA. If you have any other questions about what an architect does or what we specifically can do for you, please contact us through our website, here, or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you and help you navigate through the sea of architectural and design jargon.


November 19, 2014

Around the Office…
recent events:
-business as usual
upcoming events:

-FLA will be participating in the CCCA National Convention in Orlando during December 1-3. Our team will be leading two seminars and participating in the exhibit hall. Find information about the conference here. Are you attending too? We’d love to chat! Contact us here.


Technology of the Month: Glass Garage Doors 

 What is it?

While more of a design implement rather than a technology, glass garage doors can create inexpensive, operative solutions for large openings. The concept of the ‘glass garage door’ is to remove what are normally opaque panels on the door itself, and replace them with glass. This will leave a skeleton infilled with glass panels. These doors operate similarly to residential garage doors. They’re becoming more popular as manufacturers begin producing “off the shelf” options that already have glass panels installed with effective, industry standard sealing treatments.

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Why should I use it?

Your camp or conference center’s setting is one of its most valuable assets. Many guests choose to retreat to areas in nature to experiences God’s Creation firsthand; so why hide it behind walls and small windows? These glass garage doors create a large frame to display the natural beauty around you.

Are Glass Garage Doors economically viable?

smith homestead03

Yes, and as the number of manufacturers increase, they become even more affordable. Compared to the cost of the equivalent area of a commercial fixed window system, the garage doors are about 25% less expensive. We at FLA have found the fixed window systems to be expensive and generally beyond most camps’ budgets, but highly recommend the garage door alternative as a way to seamlessly integrate God’s creation with interior spaces. By creating an aesthetic transition between the outdoors and indoors, the value of your camp or conference’s beautiful outdoor setting improves drastically.

Are Glass Garage Doors appropriate for any camp?

Yes, with limitations. We have successfully specified them in dining halls, recreation buildings and multipurpose buildings. When open, the doors can have the effect of making a building feel more like an open air pavilion, when closed they can still offer gorgeous views while shielding guests from the elements. These doors have proven popular and help enhance our ability to minister to our guests in context. However, to create this seamless transition, we do not specify large screens for these openings. If insects are a major issue for your camp or conference center, you may be limited to a more conventional window or door treatment.


Where can I find out more information?



Overhead Doors

Staff Spotlight: No-shave November

FLA headshots-22

Meet Dave Lee.

Dave stands as our fearless leader as our principle architect. He’s a great presence to have around the office– upbeat, positive and always ready to provide help to clients and coworkers. During the week Dave is hard at work at the office, exemplifying what it means to be a leader, husband and father. Outside the office he can be found attending church services and events, taking care of his new chocolate lab, Hobbes, or doing something fun with his wife Maggie. As anyone who has met Dave can attest, it’s hard to find a bad thing to say about him. Dave also happens to be the owner of the most glorious mustache in the office, as seen below:


Complete with turtle waxed ends, we offer this photo as an homage to the American Cancer Society’s “No-Shave November” event.


September 22, 2014

Around the Office…
recent events:
– as seen in our last blog post here, in-house architect Tom Zimmerman successfully rappelled off a building in downtown Denver to raise money for ‘Over the Edge’, an event put on by the Cancer League of Colorado. Thanks for supporting the fight against cancer, Tom!
-Architectural intern, Cat, has cut back on her hours to return to her final year of architecture school at CU Denver. We wish her well in her studies and are excited to see the progress she makes throughout the semester.

upcoming events:

-October 4: Niwot hosts Oktoberfest! Come enjoy live music, free admission and small town merriment.
-October 9-11: AIA Colorado hosts their annual Practice + Design Conference in Keystone, Colorado



Technology of the Month: Grey Water Reuse

 What is it?

Grey water is what drains from your sinks, showers, baths, and washing machines as compared to “black water” that comes from toilets and urinals. It is reused for flushing toilets, and in some cases for landscape irrigation. According to residential industry statistics, grey water reuse can yield about a 35-40% savings in water consumption, and, in turn, in waste water production. The systems work through the drain system of the showers, baths and perhaps sinks and laundry. The water is piped to a storage tank and filtration system; from there it is piped to supply the water to the toilets for flushing. The black water of the toilets is then connected to your waste water treatment system or drained to the community sewer system.

grey water reuse copy


Why should I use it?

Grey Water Reuse is considered a “green” technology. By utilizing it, users can be a positive role model and good neighbor in regions where water resources are scarce, decrease the size or volume of expensive waste water treatment systems and/or provide less strain on older septic systems, have more water available for landscape irrigation and ground water recharge, and offer first-hand education to guests on effective stewardship of God’s creation.


Is reuse of grey water safe?

Yes, if its use is limited to toilet flushing and proper landscape irrigation. With millions of users in the U.S. there have not been any documented cases of grey water-transmitted illness.  


Is Grey Water Reuse appropriate for any camp?

No,  the cost of the additional piping, pumps, filters and maintenance can exceed the savings or have a long payback period. The most appropriate camp application of grey water reuse is where the supply of water is limited or the treatment of waste water is limited; in those cases, it can mean the difference between having enough water for your guests, or the number of guests you can accommodate!


Where can I find out more information?

oasis design



Staff Spotlight: The Student


Meet Cat Heard.

She is entering her final year of undergraduate architecture school at University of Colorado Denver. Growing up in a suburb of Washington DC, Cat moved to Colorado 3 years ago for school, and has been a part of Fletemeyer & Lee Associates for just over a year. Her sense of humor and positive attitude (and excellent barista skills) help keep the office upbeat and caffeinated. Cat can usually be found at school, work or at a number of volunteering events and conferences. Most recently she competed in the Denver CANstruction exhibit competition held at the Colorado History Museum, and is looking forward to representing the firm at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference in Keystone, Colorado this October. While she might be busy with school during the fall and spring, we appreciate seeing her around the office on a part-time basis.

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Ramah in the Rockies Grand Opening

July 28, 2014

In 6 days Ramah in the Rockies will be hosting a Supporter Tribute Celebration and Grand Opening of the Beit Kesher Retreat Center! Refreshments and Tours will be available from 12:30-2:00pm, and festivities will be held from 2:00-4:00pm. To find out more information, get in contact with us or visit the Ramah website here.

Side Note:
We fortunately didn’t lose Tom as he rappelled for Over The Edge! He managed to raise $1570 to help fund cancer research and support service grants for patients in Colorado. Way to go, Tom!



Summer Happenings

July 9, 2014

Around the Office…
recent events:
– Bryon, part of our planning and landscape design team, officially left bachelorhood behind on June 7! Many well wishes to the newlyweds!
upcoming events:
July 12: Tom, longtime architect and friend of FLA, is planning to jump off a building the second week of July. He is participating in the Cancer League of Colorado’s Over the Edge event. July 12 he, along with 100 other folks, will be rappelling off a 30-odd story building in downtown Denver, Click here for more information.
Mid-July: Powder Keg Brewing Company will be hosting their opening later this month, right in downtown Niwot. Check out their website here for up to date information on their progress.
August 3: Ramah in the Rockies hosts their grand opening on August 3rd! Use this as a great opportunity to get into the mountains and hang out with some of the FLA staff! Be on the lookout for a more detailed post on the Ramah project towards the end of July.



Technology of the Month: Ground Source Heat Pumps

 What is it?

Also known as ‘geoexchange’, ‘earth-energy pumps’ or earth-coupled pumps’, ground source heat pumps, at their most basic, are an alternative, environmentally friendly way to heat and cool a building. The way they work is by running water through a series of tubes underground (or at the bottom of a body of water) at a certain depth, where the water is heated/cooled to the earth’s temperature, then running it back to the building for heating or cooling purposes. This creates a very efficient system due to the stability of core earth temperatures, which remain at about 50°-60° F year round.

ground source heat pump - cool

Why should I use it?

Ground Source Heat Pumps are efficient in time, money, and environmental stewardship. GeoExchange explains the benefits as saving energy and money on electric bills, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, ridding your property of unsightly outdoor equipment, drastically reducing the cost of hot water, and reducing maintenance costs. While these systems can cost a little more up front, the long term cost benefits are tremendous: these systems last up to 25 years and drastically cut down on electric and water heating bills. The diagrams above and below help explain how these systems work from a heating a cooling perspective. Additional cost benefits can be found if these systems are installed near a body of water.

ground source heat pump - heat

Where can I find out more information?

ground source heat pumps –
International Ground Source Heat Pump Association’s Website
There are many articles on ground source heat pumps. Please click on one of the links above or get in touch with us to see how we can help you benefit from a ground source heat pump system!



Staff Spotlight: The FLA’er who walked across the country

Meet Josh James.

He’s a quiet guy with a passion for health, fitness, and architectural quality and design. Originally from North Carolina, he brings a love of southern food and the great outdoors. You’d never guess that he’s trekked nearly all the way across the country. Starting in early spring 2007, Josh walked about 4,000 miles (and biked about 1,000 miles) across the American Discovery Trail from the east coast to the west. Stopping a little over half-way in Colorado for the winter, he finished up his trip in 2008. He’s a great personality to have around the office, with valuable perspective that can only be gained by travelling the country by foot. When Josh puts his mind to something, he certainly goes the distance to achieve it.

ADT7     ADT9




A New Home

June 9, 2014
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We’ve moved!

Last summer [2013] we relocated the FLA office to Niwot, Colorado. Still a part of Boulder county, Niwot is located right off the diagonal highway, about half way between Boulder and Longmont. We found an historic, brick building on Second Avenue (Niwot’s Main Street) to house our team and serve as our home base while we serve our Clients.


Before: constructed in 1911 by Walter Hogsett, this building served as a lumber and general store for some time (see above) before being bought out by Esgar Mercantile, whose name remains most closely associated with this building’s history (see below).


After housing a number of businesses, including an auction house, auto repair shop and second hand store, Fletemeyer & Lee Associates purchased part of the building from Chris Finger Pianos . Current building shown below: 


We invite you to stop by and say hello!


101 Second Avenue, Suite A, Niwot

Renewable Energy

December 22, 2010

In the January/February 2011 issue of InSite magazine published by Christian Camp and Conference Association, I shared three sources of renewable energy: solar power, wind power and biomass power. Another source is hydro-electric power.

Hydro-electric power: Many camp properties have streams or rivers flowing through them. For those of you who fit this category, have you considered this water as a resource for hydroelectric power generation?

Most people immediately envision concrete dams, large reservoirs and giant turbines. You might be amazed by how small and simple small hydro systems can be. Actually, any camp with a source of water that can be piped or allowed to flow from a higher elevation to a lower elevation has the potential to create hydroelectricity. The Web sites listed below and their case studies will give you an understanding of how they work and can help you calculate the potential power of your water source.

Winter Harvesting

January 15, 2010

Last night was a free event frrom Transition Colorado entitled PERMACULTURE PANEL: The Winter Harvest.  It was presented by Sandy Cruz, Barbara Mueser, Jason Gerhardt, Jeff Graef, and Natalie Shrewsbury.

We thought the principles can apply almost anywhere and this topic will become more and more important as our population continues to multiply…

The presentation started with a startling fact; that we will need 50 million new farmers in the next 10 years to keep up with food needs.  Microclimates were the first topic discussed.  The interesting thing, though, was how they broke down microclimates into those you as a person can actually control.  Here’s some examples; use milk jugs to protect your plants from wind -or- place rocks around your plant beds to absorb sun.  They described microclimates in the context of what local materials can you use to alter your plant performance without altering the climate.

The next topics focused on some products and plant coverings.  One that stood out to me was called Remay which is a floating row cover that protects your plants from frost.  I have seen this before in large operations but did not know it could be used in smaller plots.  They also brought up another interesting fact; that if you make all your plant beds the same size and have moveable greenhouse type covers, that this will eliminate bugs from living permanently at each planting bed.  We listened to discussions on numerous cold frame ideas as well as cloches (bell shaped glass coverings for individual plants).  We are well versed on cold frames;

Here are some cold frame photos from my house (the 1st photo is from January 2009, the 2nd is from March 2009, and the 3rd is a home made cold from from March 2009):

We have been encouraging the use of winter harvesting in our projects here at FLA as well.  Here is a recent project where we needed to show what the beds would look like prior to installing them:

The panel later discussed a number of plants.  I couldn’t write them all down but here are the notable ones that are absent from my own winter beds; bolivian sunroot, parsley, parsnips, endive, chinese cabbage, english and snap peas, leeks, cletonia, salvia, myers lemon (yes, lemons do grow here), and leeks.  To eat these plants now, you need to sow the seeds in September or October.  It would take 40-50 days to grow spinach here in spring/summer and double that time when you are preparing a winter harvest.

Preserving food is probably more important than growing it.  Why go through all that trouble if you are going to throw some of this delicious fresh food away?  Here are the methods discussed to preserve your harvested foods:

1.  A food dryer will preserve foods such as broccoli and mushrooms

2.  Hot water can bathing will preserve sauces

3.  Fermentation will preserve things like kimchi and sauerkraut

4.  A root cellar will keep most foods preserved as well as your refrigerator but without any energy costs

Finally, herbs were presented in the light that we should be growing these for our winter health to fight against bacterias, colds, flu, and viruses.  There is a herbal medicine makers handbook for anyone that really wants to delve further into the subject.  Sambucol, Usnea, Elderberry, and Mullenflowers were the ones we discussed being here in the Rocky Mountains.

In any case, I hope more people start growing their own food.  It is delicious, nutritious, cheap, and can provide aesthetic interest to any garden.

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless

December 15, 2009

Last night a few of us from the office had a chance to serve dinner at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Our fearless leader, Cesar, organized the team and played the role of head chef in cooking for the 150 or so guests. The baked ravioli turned out great and had many coming back for seconds.

Laura and Bryon prepping the bread. (Note Laura’s awesome, but not so much recommended, technique! Perhaps it’s skills like this that led to her “Exacto knife vs. finger tip” incident a few years back. You’ll have to ask her who won the challenge…)

Here’s Bruce salting the mixed veggies. With hits roots in Georgia, we kept an eye out to ensure he didn’t sweeten or salt anything “southern style.”

Dave loading one of the four trays of ravioli.

Cesar & the art of serving salad.

Dave, Bruce and Laura are ready for action.

Our team: Bruce, Dave, Laura, Cesar and Bryon

CCCA – InSite Magazine

December 8, 2009
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Occasionally our partnerships with camping organizations take on dimensions outside of attending conferences and leading seminars.  For example, we author a facilities related column, known as “Something to Build On” for the bi-monthly magazine InSiteInSite, produced by the CCCA, is filled with all types of helpful and relevant information for camps, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!  If you have any ideas of facility related topics you’d like us to write about let us know!

To view archived issues, go here: