28 FEB 21 | LOOK BACK : 2003, 2002, 2001 & 2000


2020 marks the 20 year anniversary of WORKSHOP8, and when it comes to celebrations, the W8 team goes all out. We are putting together a SCRAPBOOK page which will take us all the way back to WORKSHOP8’s inception in 2000 (when it was called VaST).

Our blog series, “LOOK BACK,” will highlight blocks of time. In this post we LOOK BACK at the very beginning 2003, 2002, 2001 & 2000.

Take note of the icon meanings above as you scroll through our recent history. If you want to know more about the project or event, most of the images are links that will take you down the rabbit hole — a place I find myself going often.

My fingers are crossed that we can throw a big party on January 8th, 2021 to celebrate in person with all of our clients, consultants, and friends.


Prior to rebranding to WORKSHOP8 in 2010 (during the Great Recession), our studio was a little Mom & Pop shop that at is largest had five employees, doing great work, and trying to survive. This is the story of VaST.

Autumn 2000 AD : We had survived the “devastation” that was predicted to occur once the clocks ticked over into the new Century. Brandy was pregnant with our daughter. I was 32 years old, and we had an idea. What if I went out on my own? I was in the process of taking the Architectural Registration Exams — back then there were nine of them — and was about half done. I had been working for a small, design oriented, firm EDGE Architecture for about eight months. Prior to that I had worked for Manning Architects, and even though I had been made “Partner”, it didn’t feel like it was where I should be, I wasn’t quite ready to settle down.

The project that I was working on at the time with EDGE, Sunny Side, for the Boulder County Housing Authority, was wrapping up and I had befriended Kurt, a teacher for the Boulder Valley School District Construction Trades Program, who, with his class of high school students, was building the Community Building at Sunny Side. One day when I was on site, Kurt asked me if I was interested in designing a house for he and his wife Angie, who was coincidently also pregnant at the time with their first child, also a daughter.

“Did I want to design their house?”

“I sure did!”

Kurt implied that this would be something that they wanted to work directly with me on, possibly on the side? Well, the seed was planted. There were two people that I needed to talk to before committing to Kurt and Angie. Jim Manning, of Manning Architects, and of course Brandy.

Jim is a great guy, and even though I had moved on to EDGE earlier in the year, he and I stayed in touch. I knew he was really disappointed when I left, but was ultimately supportive even though he was in the process of trying to wind down his practice with the plan of retiring to Arizona and playing as much golf as possible. So, when I called him to see if he thought I should go out on my own, he said “definitely”. In fact, he said he was just starting to work on a small office building that he could use my help on.

Perfect, having two good sized projects felt like a smart way to go out on my own. That left Brandy to talk to.

“Brandy, what if I go out on my own? Yeah, start my own Firm. Yeah, I know you are pregnant. But if not now, when? Do I know how to run a business? No. But you do.”

Then came the never-ending, grueling hours spent on what to name the new endeavor. It was a lot easier coming up with a name for our daughter, Carmen Joseph Vigil V (yea, named after her dear old dad, and Gpa, and great-papa, and great-great-grandfather).

We knew that for the time being it was just gong to be me, my drafting desk, and a computer, so the name had to make sense initially, but we wanted it be able to evolve over time. I was never a fan of architecture firms who were named after people (typically old white men).

One evening, driving over Davidson Mesa coming down into Boulder, we landed on Vigil architecture STudio, with the knowledge that the branding would be VaST.

The final piece of the puzzle was to find a place to call home. Fortunately I was still in contact with another former boss, Scott Lancashire, who, as fate would have it, had recently dissolved his firm and was working directly for a client, and so just happened to have some office space to share with me. VaST was located at 2020 20th Street for over seven years (not quite 8, unless you round up), until we moved into the Candy Shop.

The rest is history.

Kind of.

Within the first month, the office building with Manning got shelved and in May 2001 our daughter was born. Coincidently, we spent Carmen’s first night on this planet in Boulder Community Hospital, in the room right next to Kurt, Angie and their new born daughter. And yes, this May, both our daughters will be 20.

Thanks for following along the WORKSHOP8 & VaST history! 

Joseph Vigil | Principle Architect
28 FEBRUARY 2021