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Hidden Gems: Meet Josh Oqueli of BONSAI

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Oqueli. 

Hi Josh, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
After high school, I joined the Marine Corps for the GI Bill and to travel the world. After the military, I went to school for Architecture, and in 2008 received my MArch from CU Denver. While in grad school, I went to work for one of Colorado’s premier firms, OZ Architecture, and have been practicing architecture ever since. In 2013 I founded BONSAI, an Architect-Led Design+Build firm. We offer turnkey architecture and construction services to our private and developer clients throughout the state. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
In the design industry in general, a strong portfolio is everything. As a startup, BONSAI had a very small portfolio and we relied on scrappy remodels, long hours at the office, followed by long nights on the job site. I found that the best way to build a portfolio, is to do it for yourself, as such, much of BONSAIs early work were self-developed projects, much in the way of Jonathan Segal’s Architect as Developer business model. From there, things have grown somewhat organically. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
BONSAI is an Architect-Led Design+Build firm. Our focus is in High-Performance design and construction utilizing the Passive House building science techniques. The ALDB project delivery method offers better communication and design intent execution throughout the project. Accurate pricing early on and synergies in design+build fees. 

We offer a concept service for a very low cost where we perform a feasibility/zoning/code study for a given property, design and assemble a detailed line-item budget for the project. Beyond this engagement, there is no commitment to move forward. Lots of clients engage us for this service to help visualize their dream home and understand what it’s going to take to get there. It provides high value, lots of information, and visualization like only an architect can do, for a small investment. When you’re ready to build it, you’ll have that credit towards our design+build fees! 

What’s next?
In the future, BONSAI intends to migrate back to its origins and reconnect with the Architect as Developer business model. We are currently exploring ways of bringing high-performance design and construction to a highly underserved affordable housing sector. We are looking to work in partnership with public and private entities to design, develop and build low-income and affordable housing. 

We will always continue to offer high value for our clients in both our concept services and design+build of select projects, though our overarching agenda is to bring high-performance architecture to all the people. 

Contact Info:

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