Bigger does seem also to be better for CCY Architects, winners of top international recognition
Resort recreation projects, affordable housing, and custom residential — it’s all part of the portfolio of one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s largest architectural firms under one roof.
CCY Architects, based in downtown Basalt with 46 architects and designers, was recently selected as a finalist for the Architizer A+ Awards for best residential firm. Only five firms in the world received the recognition.
CCY Architects also picked up an accolade earlier this year with The Architect’s Newspaper’s honorable mention for Best of Practice 2023 in the West.
With five principals at the firm, many hands doesn’t equate to chaos. Rather, the multi-generational leads diversify CCY’s work from affordable housing projects to the recent redesign of the Buttermilk base area.
“CCY is unique for an architecture firm in that we are moving into our fifth generation of ownership,” said CCY Architects Principal Todd Kennedy. “It’s not a sole proprietorship. We are a firm with real generational leadership. It is part of our core culture.”
The firm is also interdisciplinary and includes an interior design studio.
“The multi-faceted, cross-pollinated approach works for us,” he said.
CCY’s most prominent mark comes in mountain towns, which makes sense as the firm was founded in Aspen and first found success there. It was originally founded as Copeland, Finholm, Hagman, Yaw Architects in 1971 in Aspen’s Elks Building.
In 1999, the firm moved into their current Basalt space, which they designed and built. Current partners at that time were John Cottle (since 1983) and Rich Carr (since 1999). In 2005, they changed the name to CCY Architects. Todd Kennedy and Alex Klumb joined the ownership in 2019, and Maura Trumble joined this year.
The architects and designers focus on a small number of projects at a time, and the scope is broad and demographically diverse.
Recent and current projects include: Molly Gibson in Aspen, Buttermilk Base including the Hideout, Eglise Lodge at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Elk Camp and Lost Forest Follies in Snowmass, Four Seasons Chongli in China, Bay to Beach Residence in Easthampton and Powdercrest, a new net-zero luxury residential community in Spanish Peaks, Big Sky.
CCY Architects and Aspen Skiing Co. completed Buttermilk 2.0 in December 2022. They took a late 1960s rental shop that wasn’t salvageable and transformed the area into a flexible, mixed-use space including bathrooms, ticketing, and lockers.
“The redesign of Buttermilk base has been a long time in coming for Aspen Ski Co.,” said Chris Kiley, senior vice president of planning and development for Skico. “We’ve been working on plans for improving the base for almost three decades.”
Kiley has spent much of his career with the company working on this project.
“It’s incredible to witness it get realized and very rewarding for me and Skico,” he said. “CCY was such an amazing partner with us to re-create the base that is family- and kid-focused.”
CCY Principal Chris Touchette said the Buttermilk base was intended to feel like an all-day recess.
“Being part of that special place where my kids leaned to ski and snowboard made the work even more fulfilling for us,” he said. “It’s comforting to know that our collaborative efforts with Aspen Snowmass at Buttermilk will be shared with future generations and enjoyed by all for many years to come.”
Mountain town affordable housing
CCY Architects is behind The Voodoo Affordable Housing Project in Telluride, which by Sept. 1, 2024, is scheduled to have 27 rental units, along with ground floor commercial space and public restrooms.
CCY Architects Principal Maura Trumble said, “We are also working on private residences and a hotel renovation in Telluride. We are always looking for opportunities to help address the housing crisis that is ubiquitous in every mountain community.”
A recently completed project by the studio in Big Sky was acknowledged by Residential Design Architecture Awards, AIA Colorado Design Award of Excellence and North American Copper in Architecture Awards.
The cabin in San Miguel County cabin features a copper wraparound, its standout element, and remote accessibility by car only in the summer. Occupants must reach the location by snowshoe in the winter.
Attorney Mark H. Iola is working on his second project with the architectural firm.
“They are obviously award-winning designers, but their real skill is converting the desires of the clients into lasting significant architecture,” he said.
CCY’s longevity in the community also comes with a list of non-profit partnerships, company-wide volunteering initiatives, and leadership roles in continuing education. It is a strong proponent and active member of The Buddy Program, for instance.
CCY Architects partners with the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning to sponsor the annual Aspen Summer Design Program, a three-week in-studio session for Master of Architecture students in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The Roaring Fork Maymester Workshop (Aspen Workshop) was founded in the summer of 2011 to offer students an opportunity to work at local architectural firms and alongside some of the nation’s leading architects to gain insight into their design process, studio culture and professional practice.
In June at this year’s session, over a dozen students engaged with the CCY team.
“CCY continues to dedicate time and expertise to CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning students in the summer intensive workshop, their dedication to education is fundamental. The experience is transformational for the young designers and all who participate. It is a pleasure to work with them, especially Gage Reese and his team,” said Mira Woodson, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver.
At the other end of the career spectrum, Larry Yaw, who founded the firm 50 years ago, still goes into the Basalt office for team events, their annual ski day, and other activities.
The former girlfriend of Jean-Pierre Conte, the chairman and managing director of the private equity firm Genstar Capital, filed suit Thursday in Aspen claiming that Conte committed assault, battery, and violated the terms of a 2021 separation agreement. Hillary Thomas claims in her lawsuit that during her more than nine years with Conte, she helped parent his four children and her two children “whom they raised in a blended family.”