Nationally known firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, with projects in New York, Chicago, opens office in Denver

A nationally known landscape architectural firm has opened an office in Denver for what is a homecoming for the director of the new location.

The process of adding Denver to the offices that Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has in Cambridge, Mass., and Brooklyn, N.Y., happened organically during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Scott Streeb, an associate principal and the director in Denver.

“I originally moved here in 2018 to be closer to my family. Michael was supportive of me working remotely,” said Streeb, who grew up in Littleton. “I had a small office set up.”

And other employees were weathering “the storm of the pandemic” in the area, he added.

“Michael thought we should all work together, and that kind of blossomed into us opening up an office,” Streeb said.

Ten people work at the new office in northwest Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The new location was added to the firm’s website in late April.

“It was kind of pandemic-related in wanting to afford different lifestyles for our staff, with the added bonus of having a presence out here and expanding our project reach westward,” Streeb said.

The firm, MVVA, is known largely for its large-scale public works projects, Streeb said. Many of the projects take several years to complete.

The firm’s work includes 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, stretching along the waterfront north and south of the bridge. Another project is 27-acre Maggie Daley Park in downtown Chicago that is part of the city’s network of lakefront landscapes. Other work includes the the Obama Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Presidential Center and the Gathering Place in Tulsa, Okla., a 66-acre park along the Arkansas River.

Streeb said MVVA also works on residential design and college campuses.

“A lot of our work revolves around these public spaces that regardless of who you are or where you come from, or how much money you make, you can come and enjoy it,” Streeb said. “We have a lot of good public spaces in Denver, but we could do even better.”

Much of the firm’s work also involves private philanthropy helping finance projects in public spaces.

Streeb attended Columbine High School. He was a freshman and at school when the 1999 shootings killed 13. He graduated from Colorado State University in 2007 and spent 13 years in Brooklyn.

“We’re going to begin looking at local projects, especially in the mountain west region,” Streeb said. “The ultimate dream is to do a large-scale public project in Denver some day.”

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