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Community Highlights: Meet Beth Mosenthal of C1 (Concept First) Architecture + Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beth Mosenthal.

Hi Beth, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I knew I wanted to be an architect since elementary school. As a child, you could find me building with blocks and quietly observing the built environment regardless of what context I might be in. While I took a slight detour in college to pursue a broader humanities-based education, I attended Syracuse University School of Architecture for graduate school and never looked back.

Over the years, I’ve interned and worked for firms in Shanghai, New York, Chicago, and my current home, Denver, and have enjoyed seeing how design thinking applies to buildings and objects of vastly different sizes and uses. After over a decade of working for small, medium, and large architecture firms on large institutional, cultural, and academic buildings as well as high-end residential homes, I recently started a multidisciplinary design firm, C1 (Concept First) Architecture + Design in the fall of 2021.

This decision wasn’t made lightly; I’ve always enjoyed the team aspect of architecture; working with creative, inquisitive people in a collaborative studio environment. However, like many people, after working remotely throughout the pandemic and as a mother in the thick of raising two young children, something tangibly shifted for me, personally and professionally. I felt ready to take on more risk if it meant finding the reward of pursuing meaningful projects while creating intentional space to embrace the blurred lines of work and life.

Since opening our doors in 2021, C1 has been fortunate to have a steady stream of residential, civic, and non-profit work. With ongoing projects that champion accessibility, innovation, and, for some of our mid-century and historic Denver home projects, thoughtful preservation and renovation, I feel thankful that I took the leap when I did and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’d say the road has been simultaneously smooth and bumpy, depending on whether you take a glass half-full or half-empty standpoint. I was fortunate to learn early on that adversity can yield insight and opportunities that can challenge one’s perceived definition of “success.” Adversity builds grit and persistence; extremely helpful qualities amidst the many complexities life presents.

To elaborate, when I graduated from architecture school, I found myself in the midst of the 2010 recession. After many informational interviews, a partner at a firm told me, “Do something you would never do otherwise right now.” It may have sounded grim, but I took his advice and applied to a job as a Sustainability Specialist through the AmeriCorps VISTA program with Habitat Humanity of Metro Denver. I was offered the job and within several weeks of applying found myself driving West, pursuing what I now see as “Manifest Destiny.”

A year later, I ended up moving to Chicago to pursue a more traditional path towards architectural licensure, but that year working for Habitat provided me with an invaluable perspective regarding the importance of architecture as a means of using space to provide safety, stability, and hope amidst systemic challenges such as cyclical poverty and affordability.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about C1 (Concept First) Architecture + Design?
C1 Architecture + Design is a multidisciplinary architecture and interior design firm that works on a range of projects of varied scales and programs. Whether we are working on a home or a commercial building, C1 is committed to an iterative and collaborative process rooted in outcomes informed by a strong design concept, research, client and consultant collaboration, and sustainability.

C1 works with clients ranging from homeowners to private and public organizations, companies, and municipalities, using our dynamic and varied work experiences to approach each project with curiousity, potential, and laser focus on the goal of finding the right solution for each unique client, organization, and community. When designing, we give equal weight to the exterior and interior of each project, designing spaces from the inside out and the outside in. Using 3d modeling and visualization software, we test and illustrate various opportunities for views, daylight patterns, and the building users’ overall experience to help inform the client’s decisions prior to documentation and construction.

For more information, feel free to visit our website or reach out to C1’s founder – we look forward to hearing from you.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
A highlight of Beth’s career thus far was the opportunity to give a TEDx Mile High talk regarding her love of architecture in the sense that it inspires us to think about what could be rather than what is. For those that might be interested, the link is here: https://www.ted.com/talks/beth_mosenthal_urban_growth_isn_t_a_problem_it_s_an_invitation

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Image Credits
Beth Mosenthal, C1 Architecture + Design

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