Jacoby, J. Michael

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .



Mike Jacoby

(1937 – )

Born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, Mike Jacoby graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in architecture before joining the army, spending two years in Germany. He met “BC” – his wife-to-be – at a dude ranch in Wyoming, and they were married when he was discharged from the service.

His 3-year apprenticeship was in an architect’s office in Denver working mostly on schools; he then had a 20-year stint with WC Muchow, with the last 10 being as managing partner. It was a time of urban renewal for Denver, and he was associated with a number of award-winning projects. “It gave me a start in understanding architecture,” Mike says.

The job involved government work, including the Jefferson County Jail. Mike was the project architect on the team of 12-15. The firm won the competition for design in 1979, but the final structure – built between 1981 and 1986 – was really quite different, according to Mike. It was based on a circular configuration with the controls in the center and cells around the circumference, an efficient concept developed in England in the 1800s. The jail proved secure as well, with the first breakout not happening until 2014, 29 years after its opening.

For the last 10 years of his career, Mike was a partner with the architectural firm H+L, retiring in 2000. He was in charge of the remodeling and expansion of Evergreen High School in 1995. “It had been a very difficult school to maneuver through because of how it had evolved around an open area,” Mike said. His design created “Main Street,” which covered the courtyard, creating a place for kids to gather, and greatly improved the navigation system, making it more user-friendly.

In addition to encompassing the primary and secondary education work for the firm, Mike’s professional portfolio includes working on two additional jails, the DCPA parking facility and Galleria roof, the Winter Park Ski Area, the addition to Craig Hospital, and being the lead local architect of Presbyterian St. Luke’s hospital.

Professionally, he was appointed by Gov. Lamm in 1985 to the Colorado Board of Examiners (licensing architects, professional engineers and professional land surveyors) and served for 9 years, 6 as president. He served on the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (director of the Western Region), the board that wrote and graded the exams for licensing architects. “It was a great sense of being involved and at the heart of the profession,” Mike said. He also served as president of the Denver Chapter of American Institute of Architects.

The Jacoby family moved to Evergreen in 1978 from Littleton, searching for a sense of community. His first involvement was in 1980 when he joined the board for the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO). His first board meeting included addressing that the Health Dept. had shut down the kitchen at the Marshdale Lodge, the facility where the CPO housed the 70-80 young musicians who lived there each summer. The board had been considering relocating the students and performances to the Colorado School of Mines to resolve the issue, but Mike met it head on, insisting, “We can fix the kitchen!” And he did find a way, a fix that – 35 years later – is still working in the kitchen of The Bistro, which operates in the lodge in 2015.

He also served on the board for Art for the Mountain Community (now Sculpture Evergreen) and served as its president for six years. He was elected by residents to serve on the Evergreen Parks and Recreation District board from 1992-6 (one 4-year term). It was during the time of construction of the Buchanan Recreation Center, and Mike’s background as an architect proved useful in selecting materials (the design itself had already been finalized).

As a member of Mountain Foothills Rotary, Mike generated the project of planting ponderosa pines along Evergreen Parkway between Bryant Drive and Safeway. He organized and supervised Rotary manpower to grill the entrees for a 200-person outdoor sit-down dinner to benefit the Mountain Area Land Trust for several years.

Although designing civic and commercial buildings was his specialty, he designed several residential homes in Evergreen and Tubac, Arizona for personal use. In addition he did the conceptual building design for Mike and Ann Moore’s “net zero” energy-efficient home on Kerr Gulch.