Architect Has Roots in Southeastern Colorado

Joy Spatz, Principal, Studio Collaborative

La Junta, CO—March 29, 2012—Southeast Mental Health Services

Joy Spatz, and her team at Studio Collaborative, Inc. have designed the new building taking shape at 100 Kendall Drive on Lamar’s healthcare campus. Although the firm has its offices in Denver, Spatz has deep roots in southeastern Colorado.

“My grandmother’s cousin was William Bent,” said Spatz, who brings her family to Bent’s Fort each year during their family camping trip. “My grandfather settled in Central Nebraska, so I have always felt drawn to the peacefulness of the prairie.” Spatz, who also attends the National Western Stock Show every year, says she would love to trade places with a rancher for a month. “I have a million questions about livestock, and I’ll corner anyone willing to indulge my curiosity.”

The building Spatz designed for Southeast Mental Health Services is inspired by the native prairie that lies just south of the building site. “I was so excited when I first saw the building site and realized that it would be possible to bring the outside ‘in,’ so that the spacious feeling you get when you view the prairie can be felt inside the rooms of the building.”

A line of horizontal windows rings the building on three sides, framing views of the southern landscape. Real grasses will also be incorporated into a Plexiglas detail at the welcome desk and in the conference room. Original artwork is planned to capture local artists’ interpretations of the prairie.

“This is the second project I’ve completed for a community mental health center,” said Spatz, “and when I interview the staff and clients who will use the new building, I am always struck by their comments about the healing power of nature. I wanted to make sure that this building was a place that connects people to the natural elements that surround it.”

Rock, native plants and xeriscaping is planned for the landscape around the building. “The soil at the site acts like a sponge with a lot of expansion and contraction whenever moisture is present,” said Spatz, “so we have to respect and work with it.” A covered patio off the back of the building will extend out to a flagstone courtyard, which will be decorated with potted plants to contain any necessary watering.

“It has been a great experience for my team to work on a rural project,” said Spatz. “The City of Lamar has been very helpful in the process. I have a new appreciation for the dynamics of rural life, and I am envious of the staff that will come to work in the new building and look at that beautiful prairie every day.”

Contact: Jeannie Larsen, Human Resource Specialist

Photo Credit: Rob Hawthorne



Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyHealthLamar


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