About Us

Studio Tectonic, established in 2011, is a creative services firm based in Boulder, Colorado. The firm provides design and planning services for cultural institutions that want to engage their public with rich and meaningful exhibits and experiences.

Studio Tectonic was founded by Seth Frankel, a design leader with more than twenty-five years of experience consulting and working with museums, visitor centers, memorials, arboreta, botanic gardens, parks, historical venues and municipalities. Clients range from small institutions with limited resources (and big dreams) to large institutions with sizable budgets. Studio Tectonic regularly leads master planning for museums, cultural institutions, and natural resource organizations.

The firm is built on the principle that teams and projects are strongest when experienced design leaders are consistently and deeply involved in the work. Drawing on its years of experience with close-knit collaborative teams, Studio Tectonic develops an appropriate and well-matched cadre of professionals for each project, led by a principal who is connected to all aspects of the work.

Studio Tectonic invests commitment and passion in every one of its projects. Our goal is to fulfill each project’s potential by applying a creative yet pragmatic approach, in close collaboration with the client.



Planning for Places

Projects don’t exist in a bubble. We carefully consider the context of place. This includes the physical location and its setting as well as the institution’s organizational structures and its place in the landscape of society.


Ensuring Visitor Success

Utilizing the most current methods for visitor engagement and evaluation (such as the Smithsonian’s IPOP model), we create powerful points of entry and layers of ideas, so diverse audiences can find and make their own meaning.


Design and Visualization

As we move through the sequential phases of design, Studio Tectonic employs a variety of approaches to express our ideas. We use “tradigital” drawing and high-level CAD documentation and modeling.


Careful and Considered Process

Careful methodology stands behind all great projects. Studio Tectonic adapts known, successful processes to each project’s unique needs. Our process management is hands-on and involves close communication with the client.


Project Implementation

Skillful implementation brings excellent design to life. We build strong relationships with fabrication contractors and specialists to ensure that our intent is executed with superior craftsmanship and creativity.


Inspired Creativity

Creativity is the hallmark of our work. We find inspiration by engaging deeply with clients’ content. Then we develop creative solutions that are gracefully integrated—not arbitrarily applied.

(tɛkˈtɒn ɪk)
From the Greek tektonic meaning to build, architecturally

Studio Tectonic takes inspiration from the many ways the human and natural worlds are built, and from the beauty (and functionality) that so often results. Tectonic shifts happen slowly, but sometimes reveal themselves suddenly. The act of discovery is a constant design principle in our work.

OUR SPACE in Boulder, CO
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office 150 MYA
    150 Million Years Ago
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office 1800s
    70 Million Years Ago
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office 1800s
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office 1890
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office 1970s
    1960s - 70s
  • Place-based history of Studio Tectonic Office Present

We prioritize sustainable business practices with focus in three areas:

Internal Business Practices
Design Choices, Specifications, and Fabrication of our Work
Messaging with our Clients and the Public