1123 Walnut St
A project by MQArchitecture

This commission encompassed two separate commissions. The first one was to develop a two story mixed used building on a 48 feet wide by 150 feet deep “party” lot. The second challenge consisted on the design of a new typology of hospitality: a cannabis lounge for the recreational consumption of Marihuana.

The project is facing Boulder’s Downtown Historic District, a Landmark area built around 1880 where most of the lots are 25 feet wide with brick party walls. After World War II plenty of these buildings were modernized with metal and precast facade panels.

We identified the most characteristic formal elements of the 1880s: two brick party walls; upper story with a prominent roof cornice and 4’x8’ vertically proportioned windows; ground floor with large storefront display windows, recessed entrances, display window bulkheads and exposed cast iron columns.

We abstracted these elements to design the facade, applying contemporary materials with a reference to the modular and prefabricated panel systems from mid-century. Therefore, the upper level is solved with aluminum white crate panels mounted on brackets over a stucco finish, creating pattern with large 4’x8’ operable windows and folding on the top creating the cornice; ground floor with 12’ high glass panels, aluminum frames, aluminum cladding and circular white steelcolumns.

Since the street level required separate entrances for the three different uses, we proposed two symmetrical recessed entrances on both sides of the facade. The entrance to the hospitality on the East end and the entrance to the office space on the West side, with the retail storefront running in between.

As the marihuana hospitality required a space depraved of windows, we placed it on the back area of the ground floor. In order to bring natural light to the space, we conceived a large 16×16 feet skylight flooding the space with light through a gold aluminum crate that impedes direct visual contact between inside and outside. The skylight becomes an open patio with a terrace on the second floor that contributes to organize the office space. In section the skylight and the patio work together as an inverted terraced pyramid, bringing natural light uniformly throughout the deep floor plan. Some vegetation sits in the perimeter of the skylight.

The vestibule of the office space is crowned with a white perforated metal staircase suspended from the ceiling with back lit reclaimed wood treads recovered from the original building. The second floor, conceived as office rental in its entirety, is an open plan with a service barallocating bathrooms, kitchenette and vertical circulation. Through the long windowed wall and the aluminum crate facade, the office takes advantage of the spectacular Iron flats views.


Designer: Miguel Quismondo, AIA with Juan Carlos Bragado
Team: Jacobo Mingorance, Ignacio De Siloniz
Architect of Record: Bray Architecture, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Gebau Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: Scott Cox & Associates, Inc.
MEP Engineers: Boulder Engineering Company
Lighting Consultant: MAP Design Studio
Client: 1123 Walnut LLC
Location: Boulder, CO
Built area: 20,000 sq.ft
Completion Date: December 2022
Contractor: Sand Construction of Colorado, LLC
Photography: Imagen Subliminal (Rocío Romero + Miguel de Guzman)


Architects: MQA

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Miguel Quismondo
MQ Architecture

Miguel Quismondo, AIA

Born and raised in Spain, Miguel attended the Polytechnic School in Madrid, where he graduated with a degree in architecture. A will to extend his understanding of architecture led him to travel to the United States, where he has carried out most of his career, first working for corporate America (Perkins+Will) and later collaborating with award-winning architect Alberto Campo Baeza in the design and construction of the Olnick Spanu House.

Over the past decade, he has worked for Olnick Spanu in several fields spanning from design, construction and management. Additionally, he had the opportunity to work with many international artists in order to help them implement and install site-specific projects in Garrison, NY.

During the more than two decades of professional experience in the fields of architecture, construction and development, Miguel has continued his education; he holds one Master’s degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University, and another in Construction Management from NYU. He has also recently started his PhD studies in architecture, focusing on the financial aspects of design and development.

His work has been published in la Biennale di Venezia, Architectural Record, A+U, Domus and Casabella, among other magazines, and he was recently recognized with an Honor in Architecture by AIA New York.

He practices architecture blending design and construction management to achieve a very personal, cost-sensible and meticulous result.

Other projects from the architect