Mayor’s Design winners make Denver, Denver

Highlights:

  • Mayor Hancock announces 16 winners of Mayor’s Design Awards.
  • Mayor’s Design Awards a tradition started in 2005.
  • This year’s award winners are as eclectic as ever.

Sixteen eclectic projects, from a tiny home in Curtis Park to office buildings around Union Station, were honored Thursday night as winners of the 10th annual Mayor’s Design Awards.

“With this year’s winning projects we have a little of everything that makes Denver, Denver,”  said Mayor Michael B. Hancock, when announcing this year’s winners.

“That is, history, modernity, creativity, vitality and community,” Hancock said.

“These property owners, community members and design professionals have done beautiful work that has improved our urban landscape,” Hancock said.

The winners were chosen for excellence in architecture, design and place making, according to Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development.

The winners were honored last night at the Chambers Grant Salon of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Since 2005, the awards have been presented to Denver homeowners, business owners, nonprofits, artists and others for their creative contributions to the public realm through innovative design.

Winners can range from community placemaking projects to adaptive reuse of historic structures to single-family residences to major mixed-use downtown buildings.

Each brings something special to Denver’s unique visual fabric and speaks to our collective commitment to building healthy, sustainable communities.

Winners and judges comments:

The Denver Union Station Wing Buildings were among the winners in the 2015 Mayor's Design Awards.

The Denver Union Station Wing Buildings were among the winners in the 2015 Mayor’s Design Awards.

  • Denver Union Station Wing Buildings, 1615 Wynkoop St.
  • Category: Distinctive Denver.

Flanking one of Denver’s most recognizable historic buildings and supporting its role as a regional transportation hub in a newly revitalized corner of downtown, these magnificent buildings are modern in design but take inspiration from the architecture that marks the Lower Downtown Historic District. They activate the city-side plazas with ground level cafes, shops and pedestrian oriented events. Glass facades on the plaza sides softly reflect the historic station and the new train hall while the hue and articulation of the brick masonry reinforce Union Station as a unique precinct within the broader urban fabric. Simply put, these are two of downtown’s most distinctive buildings.

Curtis Park home is one of the oldest and smallest in the neighborhood.

Curtis Park home is one of the oldest and smallest in the neighborhood.

  • Home at 2857 Stout St.
  • Category: This Is Home.

Built before the city’s brick ordinance, this 1860s house is one of the oldest buildings in Denver and one of the smallest in the Curtis Park neighborhood. Before its painstaking restoration, it was in such disrepair that few would have argued against its demolition. But a vision that combined interest in historic preservation, housing affordability and neighborhood diversity kept the wrecking ball away. It culminated in the transformation of the 600-square-foot cottage into a beautiful, modest, affordable option in the Curtis Park neighborhood and a small but shining treasure to complement the Curtis Park Historic District.

Gulliver Lynch home.

Gulliver Lynch home.

  • Gulliver-Lynch House , 227 S. Lincoln St.
  • Category: This Is Home.

This beautiful 1890 Queen Anne is the work of William Lang as well as the dedicated individuals whose careful work brought it back to life. Their careful and thoughtful restoration returned the home to its original use as a single-family residence, after years as a converted duplex, preserving the house’s structural and architectural integrity while bringing it into the 21st century. The house’s recent designation as a Denver historic landmark building will ensure that it lives on.

Wittier Alley Loop.

Whittier Alley Loop.

  • Whittier Alley Loop, four block loop between Williams and Race streets.
  • Category: Neighborhood Gem.

Conceived in response to an isolated hate crime in the neighborhood, this community art project celebrates the history, diversity, and culture of this unique area of Denver. Four alleyways painted with intersecting lines create a pathway that links historical markers and art pieces, enhancing and activating public space, supporting and encouraging activity and use of the local library facilities, and helping to foster a sense of community pride. The finished project was the culmination of more than a year of community planning, dialogue, design, fundraising and construction that involved more than three hundred participants.

Mestizo-Curtis Park Playground.

Mestizo-Curtis Park Playground.

  • Mestizo-Curtis Park Playground, 3181 Champa St.
  • Category: Neighborhood Gem.

On the site where the city’s first official playground opened in 1905, this project sought to do more than just activate open space. Neighborhood residents came together to design an amenity that would celebrate the unique multi-cultural history of Five Points, embedding local landmarks like the Rossonian Hotel and Dr. Justina Ford’s home into a custom-designed tree house, while the Platte River (in the form of rubberized safety surfacing) meanders its way through the playground. Any playground would have helped activate this park, but this tribute to local history achieves that while fostering community spirit and pride.

Izakaya Den

Izakaya Den

  • Izakaya Den, 1487 Pearl St.
  • Category: Neighborhood Gem.

This beautiful addition to an already thriving commercial district nestled into a residential neighborhood manages to stand out while fitting in. Driven by the Japanese idea of Wabi-Sabi, the design is characterized by asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, and austerity and strives to create an inviting and transparent synergy with the neighborhood and community. Hundred-year-old clay tile, taken from the old Pearl Street Pub that formerly sat on the site form the surface of the street front façade, support the building’s striking street presence and carry forward a piece of the site and the street’s history.

Moffat Depot at Balfour Park in Riverfront.

Moffat Depot at Balfour Park in Riverfront.

  • Moffat Depot, Balfour at Riverfront Park, 1500 Little Raven St.
  • Category: Back to the Future.

A designated historic Denver landmark, the 108-year-old Moffat Depot stood boarded-up for years before this project made it shine again. With only black and white photographs as a guide, the renovation removed more than 28,000 cubic yards of coal ash and debris, restored the crumbling brick and mortar, reinforced the walls, which had no structural capacity, and reconstructed the original, fire-damaged roof. What’s more, the building was successfully integrated into the larger Balfour development while retaining its character and visibility. It now serves not only as a great amenity for Balfour residents, but also as a bright spot on 15th Street.

Wurstkuche

Wurstkuche

  • Wurstküche Restaurant, 2036 Broadway.
  • Category: Back to the Future.

This adaptive reuse of an older one-story brick building is a “pioneer” project that offers a new vision for what this corner of Broadway can be. The character of the existing structure was left intact and supplemented with contemporary features and appointments in wood, glass and metal. What was once the long blank façade of an awkwardly shaped brick building is now an inviting and visually striking entryway. And this authentic, modern gathering place for the enjoyment of gourmet sausages and beers is bringing a new vibrancy to the street and the neighborhood.

Butterfly Walk

Butterfly Walk.

  • Butterfly Walk, La Alma Lincoln Park, 1100 Mariposa St.
  • Category: Neighborhood Gem.

In an effort to encourage park use, residents – led by the local neighborhood association – created wooden “kiosks” intended to take visitors through every corner of the open space. The bilingual plaques describe the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly (Mariposa in Spanish) side-by-side with the stories of the people and events that have made the area what it is. The walk culminates in a mural of more than forty hand-painted butterflies created by locals. The colorful collage speaks to the diversity and character of the neighborhood and provides afitting end to a journey not only through the park’s physical space, but also through the community’s history.

Boathouse.

Boathouse.

  • Boathouse, 1850 Platte St.
  • Category: Distinctive Denver.

Located at the north end of Platte Street, at the intersection of the historic 19th Street pedestrian bridge and the South Platte River, this project emerged from a vision to construct an office building worthy of and complementary to its neighbors: not only the bridge and the river, but also the adjacent Platte River Rowing Club building and the Platte River Greenway and Commons Park across the water. The result is a bold, distinctive design that makes great use of a constrained site and that, by relating every façade to its surroundings,creates a strong visual connection from the river and the bridge to the street.

My Block Wash Park.

My Block Wash Park.

  • My Block – Wash Park, 255 Washington St.
  • Category: Density by Design.

Located along Denver’s historic Speer Boulevard and the Cherry Creek Trail, and on the edge of the Washington Park neighborhood and Cherry Creek shopping district, this five-story, 107-unit urban living complex creates artful transitions between the open space, residential and commercial elements in its vicinity. The building itself fosters a community within the community through outdoor spaces and amenities that are shared, rather than divided by unit, and that exemplify the active Colorado lifestyle ethos. The contemporary design, supported by the refined palette of materials, sets the development apart as a first-class addition to a well-established neighborhood.

16 M,

16 M.

  • 16M, 1560 Market St.
  • Category: Density by Design

Tasked to infill a blighted corner on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, this 10-story/332,000 square-foot LEED Certified building blends historical context with modern execution, resulting in a dynamic and energetic development within the heart of Denver’s busiest street. The window openings are inspired by the form and scale of historic LoDo, expressed through tailored material selections and innovative details. The transparency along the street creates a more dynamic public space around the building, completely changing the feel of both Market Street and the 16th Street Mall. This truly mixed-use piece represents all that continues to make downtown vibrant.

Art in Transit.

Art in Transit.

  • Art in Transit, 3200-5200 W. Colfax Ave.
  • Category: Building Well, Living Well.

Part of a long-term vision to develop West Colfax into a thriving, diverse, and sustainable 21st century community, this modern take on “wayfinding” takes inspiration from Colfax Avenue’s iconic signage to celebrate and enhance the transit experience. The signs and brightly colored bus shelters encourage walking and biking, help orient pedestrians, bikers, transit users and vehicles, and help connect the neighborhoods to the north and south. Together, all the project elements help brand West Colfax as a cohesive, vibrant community.

Industry.

Industry.

  • Industry, 3001 Brighton Boulevard.
  • Category: Back to the Future.

Driven by a vision to create a dynamic workspace that was more than “just an office,” this incredible renovation of a massive warehouse doesn’t just adapt it for office use by businesses at various points in their development. It also completely re-imagines what this kind of space could be used for. At a time when similar large warehouse buildings on Brighton Boulevard are disappearing, this one has been renewed in a way that brings vitality to the neighborhood, supports entrepreneurship in the city and keeps a piece of this booming thoroughfare’s industrial history alive.

Armstrong Center for Dance.

Armstrong Center for Dance.

  • Armstrong Center for Dance, 1160 Santa Fe Drive.
  • Category: Back to the Future.

For its new home, The Colorado Ballet sought a state-of-the-art facility with adequate rehearsal studios, a physical therapy room, a small black box performance space for its professional company and educational programs, as well as administrative offices. That vision became a project that reimagined and reconfigured a contextual building more than 100 years old, enhancing not just the building’s exterior appearance, but also the already-distinctive corridor on which it sits. The result is a transformational anchor for the Santa Fe Arts District that thoughtfully blends the old and the new.

Bradford Real Estate Office.

Bradford Real Estate Office.

  • Bradford Real Estate Office, 2956 W. 32nd Ave.
  • Category: Back to the Future.

Sitting in a busy spot in the Highland area, this small Craftsman-style gem was thought to be a likely target for demolition by many of its neighbors. Thanks to a first-class renovation, however, the former eight-room boarding house now serves as a fully functional real estate office, boasting many modern amenities including ADA accessibility, a 6.25 KW electric solar panel system and an electric vehicle charging station. The new use is at home on this commercial corner of West 32nd Avenue, while the structure itself remains a link to the neighborhood’s character and history.

Interested in buying a home in Denver? Please visit COhomefinder.com.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. DenverRealEstateWatch.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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