Roaring Fork Valley architects sweep Western Slope awards
Ryan Summerlin September 1, 2014
Roaring Fork Valley architects won all eight of the 2014 Design and Honor Awards handed out by the American Institute of Architects for western Colorado.
Harry Teague’s Basalt-based firm won the highest award for commercial or institutional work for the new Bucksbaum Campus outside Aspen, which hosts the Aspen Country Day School and Aspen Music Festival and School. The new campus opened in summer 2013.
“They’re self-congratulatory; that’s part of the deal,” Teague said of the awards, with a laugh, on Friday. “But they’re also cherished by people in the industry, and they are awards of artistic achievement.”
The professional association also gave architectural-design awards and citations to Willis Pember Architects, CCY Architects, Studio B Architects and Charles Cunniffe Architects for projects ranging from luxury homes to a library and the new public restrooms in Rio Grande Park.
The winning projects were selected in a blind-jury process, led by architect John Carney, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The winners were selected from 27 submissions in the region that includes western Colorado’s resort towns, Grand Junction and a total of 28 counties. The awards were handed out in a ceremony at the Viceroy Snowmass on Aug. 22.
The new Carbondale Public Library, a joint project between Aspen-based Willis Pember and Denver’s Humphries Poli Architects, won a Merit Award for commercial or institutional architecture.
CCY Architects, of Basalt, took two prizes, winning a Merit Award for residential architecture for a home in Avon and a Merit Award for Unbuilt Architecture, awarded for the design for the “Snowmass Treehouse” home in Snowmass Village.
The design for the new Aspen Community School in Woody Creek, by Aspen’s Studio B Architects and Cuningham Group Architecture of Denver, won a citation for unbuilt architecture. Studio B won a second citation for its design of a glass-walled home in Boulder, to be built in partnership with Coen + Partners of Minneapolis.
The new public restrooms in Rio Grande Park, which house composting toilets and were built by Charles Cunniffe Architects, won a Citation Award. The bathroom structures, opened early this summer, are constructed from rocks excavated on-site and bound with wire. Cunniffe’s firm also won a Citation Award for its covered grandstands in Telluride Town Park.
Teague, who has been building in Aspen for more than 40 years, credited the local award sweep to the creatively fertile and progressive architectural community in Aspen, a combination of talented architects and open-minded clients — including nonprofits, governments, and private homeowners — that embrace forward-thinking design.
“There are some really good architects here, and we have clients that want to do interesting things, as well,” Teague said.
The honored projects are all fairly modern in style. None of the winners are examples of the mountain-lodge style homes that have long proliferated on Red Mountain and elsewhere near ski resorts.
“We’re all pretty much in a contemporary architectural style,” Teague said. “The awards went for a more current version of what used to be called modern architecture. … They’re all square, they have flat roofs, a lot of glass and natural light, and they use interesting materials.”
The industry has boomed in the valley, along with the luxury economy, in the past 20 years. This has brought on more competition (there are more than 120 entries in the 2015 Aspen phone book under “Architects”) but also cultivated a local environment of collaboration and conversation in the field. Teague and three of his local colleagues, for instance, together run a studio class for architecture students at the University of Colorado at Denver.
AIA’s Outstanding Leadership Award, decided by straw-poll vote at the awards ceremony, also was given to a local architect: Heidi H. Hoffman, of H3 Architects.