A bit of irony in Burlingame design

Scott Condon

A local architecture firm won an industry award Saturday for its design proposal for the city of Aspen’s Burlingame affordable housing project.

Ironically, the award-winning design by Charles Cunniffe and Associates Architects wasn’t the one that was selected by the City Council.

Charles Cunniffe and Associates was a winner in the unbuilt affordable housing category by the western Colorado chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Cunniffe’s team was one of three groups that competed for the Burlingame contract. The council voted 4-1 to pick the design by Bill Poss and Associates, Shaw Construction and DHM. However, council members heaped praise on all three proposals and said they wanted to take qualities from each of them.

Cunniffe agreed Friday that it was a bit ironic that his team’s design won an architectural award but wasn’t selected by the city. He said he believes the American Institute of Architects awarded his Burlingame design because it was “very well planned as a community.”

Cunniffe’s design featured parks, open spaces and a trail running down the center of the village. The community center was designed to look like a barn in honor of the site’s agricultural past. It included a silo to serve as a reading room for the child care facility in the community center, and a windmill.

Burlingame was renamed “Harmony Ranch” in Cunniffe’s proposal. “We were motivated by pride and community spirit” rather than profit, Cunniffe said.

Several other Aspen-area architects earned awards June 11 from the American Institute of Architects. A full list wasn’t available on the organization’s website Friday and the office was closed. However, 2004 projects highlighted on the website included:

– Honor Award to Graybeal Architects LLC for Doug Graybeal’s environmentally friendly Missouri Heights residence. “We feel that this house hits most of the sustainable categories ” it should be commended for its intentions and the success achieving its goals,” the jury said.

– Merit Award to Baker Fallin Architects, Gibson Architects and Reno Smith Architects for WaterPlace, an employee housing project in Aspen.

– Citation Award to Durrant Architects and Hagman Architects for the Aspen Recreation Center.

– Citation Award for Gibson Architects for a private residence.

– Citation Award for Bill Poss and Associates for a Two Creeks residence.

– Honor Award in the unbuilt category to Cottle Car Yaw Architects for the McCarthy residence. Also, a Merit Award to the firm for the Ferguson residence.

– Citation Award to John Muir Architects of Carbondale for a writer’s studio.

– Merit Award for the UR.2 House by Willis Pember Architects.

More information about the projects can be found at the American Institute of Architects website ”

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is


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