Announcements 08.01.2022

Perkins&Will Denver Studio Celebrates 60 Years in the Rocky Mountain Region

Still standing in Denver 60 years later, our 24th studio is celebrating its history and what is to come.

DENVER — Perkins&Will Denver, formerly known as Sink Combs Dethlefs, is celebrating its 60th year in Denver. Founded in 1962 by Charles S. Sink, the studio’s philosophy has always been to create buildings and spaces that are known in their communities as being impactful, modern marvels of architecture. The studio’s legacy and portfolio of work is one of design excellence in the last 60 years.

Sink Combs Dethlefs was an internationally recognized leader in the Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment facility design before merging with Perkins&Will in 2017. The studio has over 250 recognizable projects nationwide and is now an integral part of the global architecture firm, expanding Perkins&Will’s geographic reach to the Rocky Mountain region and bolstering its position in the Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment market.

A Brief History

Established in 1962 by architect Charles “Chuck” Sink, the Denver based studio was originally named Charles S. Sink & Associates. Sink was a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and worked under renowned architect I.M. Pei as an associate until 1960. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects and received Architect of the Year by the Colorado Chapter in 1984. His early work consisted of high-rise condominiums, financial institutions, office complexes, and university buildings. The firm’s sports legacy began when Chuck was selected to design Denver’s McNichols Sports Arena in 1975.

Richard Combs joined the firm in the 1970’s and became a full-time partner in 1979. The firm was known as Sink/Combs & Associates until 1985, when Donald Dethlefs became a principal. The firm underwent its third name change and would go by Sink Combs Dethlefs until the merger with Perkins&Will in 2017. Don remains Perkins&Will’s Global Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment practice leader.


Left to Right: Chuck Sink, Dick Combs, and Don Dethlefs, 1985

Reshaping the Sports and Recreation Industry

The Denver based firm aspired to reshape sports architecture by designing beautiful facilities that focused on experience, aesthetics, and impact on the community. The firm helped develop the industry standards for assembly venue sightlines, which are still in use today. The firm also worked on what many considered the first modern-day sports arenas and a myriad of other sport and recreation projects, ultimately building an impressive body of work into the 2000’s. Notable projects included

  • The University of Michigan Crisler Arena renovation and William Davidson Player Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • The Visitor and Conference Center at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado
  • The Chesapeake Energy Arena renovation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • The PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • The Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at the UCHealth Training Center, home of the Denver Broncos, in Englewood, Colorado

The merger in 2017 created beneficial opportunities for both parties; Sink Combs Dethlefs now had access to Perkins&Will’s worldwide network of research and talent, diversifying the services Sink Combs Dethlefs could offer. Additionally, Sink Combs Dethlefs brought to Perkins&Will unique project expertise, knowledge, and a distinguished presence in the sports architecture market.

Six Decades Later in Denver

Since the merger, Perkins&Will Denver has maintained its philosophy of creating spaces that impact and improve communities. The studio remains an active player in the Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment world but has expanded into new markets such as Science and Technology, Healthcare, and Corporate and Commercial. 2022 has been a successful year for the Denver studio, securing projects in the Science and Technology, Healthcare, and Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment practice areas.

This year the studio is celebrating 60 years of growth, innovation, and impactful design excellence in the Mile High City. Thank you to our clients, current and future, for trusting us with your projects for the last six decades, we hope to continue to grow with you!