City picks ‘dwell architect’ | AspenTimes.com
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City picks ‘dwell architect’

Janet Urquhart

A former landscape architect for Aspen’s Parks Department will help design new downtown features to encourage “dwell time.”Kevin Dunnett of Dunnett Design has put together the team chosen to create a master plan for Aspen’s downtown core. Ideas to help make the base of Aspen Highlands more inviting for hanging out will also be explored; Highlands is located in the city.The contract with the team has not yet been finalized; they offered to do the work for $38,000, said Lisa Baker, the city’s downtown catalyst.Also on the team is Art Burrows of Ajax Design & Communications and local architect Willis Pember.The city began advertising for a “dwell architect” last month with the goal of obtaining a master plan that proposes physical improvements to the core that entice pedestrians to linger or “dwell” downtown.The possibilities include ideas that came out of a report from a pair of retail consultants, Ford Frick and Henry Beer, earlier this year. They include a music venue, fire pit and additional seating, for example, along with kiosks and signs to help direct visitors around town.Beer, the consultant who sketched ideas to transform the core as part of the retail report, was also in the bidding for the job of dwell architect.Sheri Sanzone of the planning firm Blue Green LLC also put together a team for the city’s consideration. She serves on the local housing board and is married to Chris Bendon of the city planning staff.”What this really is, is the next level of design from the Frick and Beer report,” said City Manager Steve Barwick. “Yeah, we like the concepts. Now, what’s it going to look like?”The master plan is expected to offer recommendations that are doable, as opposed to improvements that are neither affordable nor feasible, Baker added.”A lot of these ideas were great in theory, but they may be too costly for the city to pursue,” she said.The master plan will include the estimated cost of implementing its various elements, Baker said.The work is expected to take about 15 weeks.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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