An Interview with Elicia Ratajczyk, LEED-AP, Associate at EVstudio

by EVstudio AEP on September 3, 2009

Elicia at fountain in Washington Square

Elicia at fountain in Washington Square

Hello! I am Elicia Ratajczyk and I have been a part of EV Studio for a little more than two years now, based out of the Evergreen Office. I have more than 30 different projects so far, which have included everything from deck additions to home additions to full commercial & residential new construction to sustainability and green certification projects. I believe that the variety of projects that we have at EV Studio is one of the firm’s great strengths and is also one of my favorite aspects of the firm. I am currently working a great variety of projects including the redesign of the Evergreen Mercantile (previously the BMC building) in Bergen Park, an affordable housing project on Black Mountain, and Tenant Improvement plans for both the Diamond Building and Evergreen Terraces.

Where is your hometown?

Actually, I am an Evergreen native! I have lived in a few other places in my life including Durango, Denver and a very brief time in New Hampshire but I have lived most of my life on the same mountain where my parents lived when I was born. I live there now with my husband, David, and am raising my own son less than a mile from my childhood home. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of such a great firm right here in my hometown. It keeps the commute to a minimum and I enjoy working within the close-knit building community here. It is exciting to work on such a variety of projects, to have the opportunity to work with so many of the local builders, business owners and residents in the Evergreen area and be able to play a role in developing the fabric of my hometown. It is a great amenity, however, having the connection to urban projects and organizations through our Denver office and making national connections through our Texas office as well.

What’s community activities are you involved in?

My involvement in the community through EV Studio has also given me a range of wonderful opportunities to become involved with a number of organizations and activities outside of the office. I am currently the Chair of the Construction Committee for the Blue Spruce Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and a co-founder of the Evergreen chapter of Greendrinks International which we call Ever Green Drinks. In addition, I am involved in a number of organizations in the Denver area concerned with sustainability and green building including the Colorado Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the Emerging Green Builders (EGB), the Colorado Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE). EV Studio is a national member organization of the U.S. Green Building Council as well. One of my favorite community endeavors has been working on the Organization Committee for the Colorado Natural Talent Design Competition. I have been involved in the organization of the competition since 2007 with the EGB and the Colorado USGBC. I was a competitor on the winning team in the Colorado competition of 2006 and our team went on to win an Honorable Mention for Systems Innovation in the National Competition that same year. The competition was such a great experience for me that I decided to become involved in making sure that the opportunity remained available to Colorado’s emerging design professionals. I truly believe that the competition is a great venue for showcasing the innovation and creativity that we have here in Colorado that is, at the same time, progressing toward sustainability. It has been wonderful to be able to help make that happen.

What brought you to a career in Architecture?

I grew up in a family involved in design and construction with a grandfather who was a mechanical engineer for the mining industry, an uncle who helped develop one of the very first CADD programs and my mother who was a drafter. I began working for my mother’s contract drafting business as a CADD (Computer Aided Design & Drafting) drafter while I was still in high school and have worked in a variety of areas of the construction industry including environmental & geophysical engineering, civil engineering, MEP engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture, space planning & interior design but what I loved was architecture! I love the unique “puzzle” that is inherent in each different project & site and I love working with the clients on the creation of their dreams. I am also very dedicated to and passionate about sustainability and green building and that is one of the major reasons that I decided to pursue an education in architecture. I have been a LEED-AP (accredited professional) since 2005 but I believe that sustainability is much deeper than achieving professional accreditation or certification for a project. Although there are a number of green building certification programs available, the concepts and strategies behind achieving them are the same. The truly successful green building project balances the environmental opportunities and obstacles of the project with the economic and social aspects of the project to achieve a sustainability that affects everyone involved in the project including the owners, designers, builders, tenants, users & community.

What Universities did you attend?

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2004 and then my Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2006. While attending the University I focused my elective studies on Sustainable Design & received a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation as well.

I have completed all of my internship requirements and am now in the process of taking my ARE’s (Architectural Registration Exams) in preparation for architectural licensing.

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