As an architect, Ron Faleide is extremely proficient technically, yet he has a heart and a strong sense of pride in his work. We were referred to Ron, and quickly saw that he understands the mission of developing housing for people who live and work in a community, yet happen to be well below median income. He understands that there are people from all blocks of life, and that they are good people who deserve a good life. As well, Ron’s unique capacity for combining form with function assures that his projects are pleasing to the eye yet work for the resident and are a good long-term investment for the owner.” ”Ron is the rare architect who believes that just because something is considered ‘low income’ it doesn’t mean it must be ‘low quality.’ Communities want to build ‘affordable’ projects that look the same as any other market-rate apartments and Ron truly gets that—he recognizes that his buildings must outlast the mortgage. He also understands our clientele and responds to their needs in highly creative ways. He has discovered, for example, that although low-income renters need a safe place to live on a nice piece of property [with Internet access!] like anyone else, their need for outdoor gathering/community space is actually far greater than their need for indoor square footage.” ”There are no surprises with Ron—when I close on a project, I know far in advance that the costs our team is asking public bodies to allocate [state tax credits, agency soft-money, etc.] are pinned down. Ron values a team effort and upfront input from the contractor in terms of options regarding cost and quality. His knowledge of building materials and cost trade-offs goes beyond the average architect as most designers leave costs up to the contractor. This allows the owner to make adjustments early in the game, before the complex funding structure typical of affordable housing is set in stone, or you’re breaking ground. He also has the patience to work through the process and we always have his attention and access to him directly, which is important to me.
When it comes to design, Ron Faleide is at the top of the art. We have worked with other architects on developing multi-family and senior housing and there is no comparison when it comes to Ron’s process and design. “
”Ron actually personally takes time to talk with the clients who will be living in the housing to collect information about their lifestyles, culture and recommendations on unit layout. For example, when Ron designed our senior housing project in Del Norte, he spent considerable time meeting with the elderly and listening to their input and concerns. This approach is actually unique, and one I’ve not experienced with other architects. Because Ron gets engaged with the end user, his design solutions make the project much more accommodating to their needs.”
”Ultimately, Ron’s creativity and color selection bring out the best in every development. His work does not distinguish between high or low cost projects – Ron considers every project worthy of good design. In fact, some of the projects he has designed for CRHDC have been design award-winners. I have recommended Ron to several groups as the quality of his work speaks for itself.
I was amazed at how much Ron cared about our project, and how much time, heart and soul he put into designing our home. He helped me buy the land, helped us understand what we wanted and then he built it. He even accomplished all of this modestly, within our budget of only $180 thousand at the time [completed in 1999]. Further, he handled every issue that arose extremely well. Ron is so versatile. He can work with anyone on anything—modest or grand, he is capable of designing all project types.”
”One thing about Ron that is different than other architects I’ve met is how deep his architectural education goes. Ron is a philosopher at heart, and he makes you feel the depth of architectural tradition behind his designs. This was my first house; I didn’t have any specific expectations, so I was probably an ideal client as a result. I didn’t realize it would be so much fun, and so philosophically and intellectually stimulating to work with Ron. I personally learned a lot from the experience. I even walked away from the experience with some new directions in my own personal philosophy and purpose in life. By the end of the experience he had actually opened my whole idea of God in terms I could understand, not in a religious way, but in a deeper, more philosophical way. Ron made me wonder, ‘What does the word God mean?’ As you can see, my experience went far beyond architecture.
”The amazing thing about my home is that Ron packed so much into such a small space—we had a very limited budget and a small plot of land. I could talk for hours about what is really special about that house… the placement of the windows, the natural heating and cooling, the location of the eaves to make the house naturally cool in the summer and warm in the summer. The heating system was actually cheaper than that of a typical home that size due to the way he laid out the rooms. I even made a fair amount of money on this house in a very bad economy because the buyers knew how special it was.
Ron Faleide has earned my highest respect. His novel design for our home addition fully exceeded our expectations. Any problem we had, Ron would come up with a solution that was totally creative, yet simple and it always made perfect sense. He brings a fresh perspective to everything he does and thinks out of the box. He is also very tuned into combining the old with the new and cares deeply about his work down to the minutest detail.
Most architects would have merely connected our addition to the external wall of the house by punching through the wall and attaching it onto the house at a 90% angle. Instead, Ron put in a connecting corridor and turned the room at an angle to the rest of the house. This simple move placed it on the lot in such a way that the views are so much more beautiful. Our new room extends out into the trees in such a wonderful way; it makes the outside beauty a part of our interior experience. Ron is also a delightful person—he just loves what he does and it shows.
Ron Faleide is one of a diminishing number of genuine craftsman in the architectural profession today. His thorough understanding of how buildings go together enables him to assemble elegant, efficient systems in an aesthetically pleasing way. Ron’s design work is consistently dynamic, beautiful and highly functional—even when dictated by modest budgets. We consider him to be one of the most talented, proficient architects in the profession today.
Ron has—and most architects do not have—a strong understanding of the business and financial implications of a project and consciously adapts his programs/designs to fit within the overriding parameters. Projects usually start with a spare essence of the project on which the balance of the project hangs and is adapted. During the project, as conditions evolve, he can adapt his work so as to minimize the impact of any required compromises. I have learned, however, not to mess with his designs as his inherent understanding of how a space will naturally be used by its occupants, whether residential or commercial in nature, is carried out in the design process.
Ron is passionate about his architecture—his work as an architect is very much about form following function. We chose Ron to be the architect of record for our St. Mary’s school building in Greeley, Colorado because we understood that if we’re going to get quality, we must have a competent architect capable of producing a truly functional, well-designed, attractive building that is easy to maintain—all within a tight budget. Ron is a master at accomplishing this balancing act. It’s a challenge raising money for church projects these days; there’s never enough money. We build for the long term, yet expect sound buildings that can be operated with minimal problems—no roof or window leaks and no foundation or floor slab movement. This means that the architect must understand engineering and how to put things together in a simple, not overly sophisticated, yet beautiful way that allows us to easily operate and maintain our schools for decades to come. We focus on the practical aspects of building issues and Ron manages to make this work within a very appealing package.”
”Our new school also turned out to be a very attractive building with color palettes and design schemes that appeal to the children and teaching staff. So, naturally, due to the really great experience we had, we strongly recommend Ron to other parishes within the Archdiocese when they are identifying architects for their projects. Some architects perform better than others and Ron worked well within our process, procedures and norms. He also listened carefully to the pastor and the principal to learn about what matters most to them.
The first thing that strikes you is Ron’s passion; he just loves what he does. Ron works on projects he’s excited about. He doesn’t compromise merely to make a living, which is exactly what I looked for in a firm. What his clients get out of this is so much more than someone who just hands you a set of plans. With Ron there is a true desire to find out who you are, what you want, and how to deliver your dream house in the end. Ron’s team also takes on more of an active role than the majority of architects—they watch your project go through construction, work closely with the builder, help you troubleshoot the issues that come up and keep you grounded in the process. Ron really understands what it takes to get a product finished. He’s also a very effective mediator between the client and the builder. As a result, I got three times my money’s worth.” ”Ron’s demeanor is calm and patient. He really puts people at ease during a very stressful time—there is a lot of emotion tied up in building a home and he has a very strong and steady way of guiding you through it. He also has a ton of energy about ideas in the beginning and yet has steady hand when dealing with the challenges of bringing it to fruition as well. Ron is like a mentor to clients and presents something that can be very overwhelming and fairly daunting in an understandable way. He also has a real gift with helping people understand what’s important as they sort through the many details and decisions involved.” ”In terms of our home in Breckenridge, we wanted to be protected from the elements, yet have a very real sense of being outdoors. Ron bought it back to gathering around the campfire outside—earth, sky, fire, water and transparency. The space truly does give you a feeling of being outside—you are never disconnected from what is happening outside here. I was never really aware of the cycles of the moon at night—the darkness and the light—until we had that space. With 22 foot windows that run 60 feet across, a rockin’ blowin’ snowstorm is my favorite time to be there. I love getting a fire going and watching the sunset. I’m also struck by people’s perception. Everyone’s perception is that it’s a cold house. Initially it appears pretty stark, not soft and warm, but anyone who has been in the house, even in the winter, comments on how cozy and comfortable they feel. Because there is a strong presence of physical warmth all around you—the concrete radiant floors are toasty, the fire is going, people are interacting—the assumption of ‘cold’ quickly disappears. Even though it’s a huge space, it feels very intimate yet it entertains really well for both small intimate groups and huge crowds. Even the outdoor patio is protected and inviting. Ron really understood how to make these spaces work for us. He took all of the concepts we brought to the table in terms of our needs, uses, desired materials and look and turn it into something we truly love. Ron is just very good at listening and then is able to feed it back to you to be certain that everyone understands.
As a holistic thinker, Ron Faleide’s vision goes beyond the aesthetic. He is an encyclopedia of knowledge about architectural styles, philosophies and history, which all come into play when he contextualizes a space. Ron thinks in terms of how, why and where people ‘gather’ and ‘retreat,’ and provides truly unique ideas that reflect those ideals. He listens first so he can understand who the people [his clients?] are and what they believe in within the space they occupy. He is informative, but not didactic, pleasant yet direct. He has an opinion and is willing to share it and explain his rationale. But, he doesn’t try to make it your opinion—and that is the important thing.” ”Ron’s process includes dedicated ‘thinking time’ for himself—this is when he reflects on your project exclusively, ponders all the angles, comes up with his best ideas and starts to visualize the best solution. In the midst of all this, Ron is sensitive to budgets and designs within them. As a result, his solutions can be quite elegant on a tight budget. Functionality, usability and aesthetics all come together in his plans, and he is good at making you aware of the trade offs in all areas, as well as their implications.”
”Ron loves what he does. He expresses and celebrates his life through his environment. He works through your entire process, from design to completion, then revels in seeing you celebrate your life in your new environment.