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 December 3, 1999

N. Colorado architects honor best design projects

The Mawson Block in Old Town Fort Collins seems to fit right in with the turn-of-the-century structures that make up this distinctive downtown area.

Upon close inspection, however, one notices the rhythmic masonry and brick details, curved steel canopies and balconies that comprise this 33,200-square-foot development are modern.

“Believe it or not, it’s new construction,´ said David Kress, a design architect for RB&B Architects Inc., which recently won the Commercial Mixed Use Project Honor Award and a merit award for the expansion of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins from the Colorado North Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The Mawson Block project, on the eastern end of Mountain Avenue, houses a bank and four office spaces, a hair salon, four townhouses and three loft apartments, two-car garages and a private parking court. All the buildings rest on a slightly raised platform because of the high water table and have a series of steps and ramps that accent the sidewalk. A bronze sculpture marks the center of the private courtyard.

In terms of influencing the Mawson Block architectural designs, Kress said, “I think it had more to do with our previous offices in the (Fort Collins) downtown area.” George Brelig, another design architect for RB&B Architects, said, “It’s an interpretation in a contemporary feel, particularly in the lofts and balconies.

“It was a true mixed-use project in terms of business, commercial and residential aspects,” he said, adding that “the fact that people live here (now) has nearly eliminated any vandalism problems.”

The Colorado North Chapter, which covers Denver’s north suburbs to the Wyoming border, held its annual award ceremony Nov. 12 at the Hotel Boulderado’s Conference Center in Boulder.

“I think the highlight of the evening is the design awards, since they are awarded last,´ said Rebecca Spears, the AIA’s current president and an architect for RB&B Architects. Hobbs Design Firm of Boulder won the Residential Project Honor Award for its Oniki-Boas residence project on High Street in Boulder.

This project renovated a 1930, craftsman-style house with a studio/garage connected by a bridge. The house design was driven by views of Boulder and nearby mountains, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and, on clear days, Denver. Most of the house’s original southern-exposure views were obstructed by additions done in the 1930s. The new building plan – built with stucco, cedar shingles and natural galvanized steel gutters – opens the entire house to the light and views it was originally intended to capture.

The AIA’s northern Colorado chapter also recognized several merit award winners such as OZ Architecture of Boulder, which won for remodeling Storage Technology Corp.’s cafeteria in Louisville.

The Building 4 Cafeteria project remodeled about 10,000 square feet, including the serving area, main dining area and private dining areas.

StorageTek hired OZ Architecture to enhance the cafeteria so that the company could keep pace with the high-tech recruiting environment at nearby Interlocken business park.

The new cafeteria design attracts people for informal meetings, coffee breaks, presentations and social gatherings. It has been divided into three distinctive areas, including the bistro with wooden floor, the working lounge with a fireplace and data ports, and the dining area.

Roger Thorp of Thorp Associates won a merit award for the Mississauga 10-Plex “Coliseum” Theatre and Entertainment Complex in Ontario, Canada.

The compact, nautilus-shaped 10-plex plan was a vast departure from most modern-day theater multiplexes. The Coliseum eliminates the dark, endless corridors in which patrons usually spend their time searching for distant auditoriums. An escalator controls access to balcony areas, and the pie-shaped auditoriums allow for the largest screens possible.

Constructed of standard masonry block and insulated with synthetic stucco, the Coliseum is now the most highly patronized cinema in Canada.

Thorp Associates also won a merit award for the Community Church of the Rockies Outdoor Chapel in Estes Park.

Other merit award winners included Aller Lingle Architects P.C., which won a Residential Architecture Merit Award for a 60-unit affordable housing development in Loveland called The Meadows, and Fenno Hoffman Architects, which won a merit award for the Jarrow Montessori School in Boulder.

AIA’s northern Colorado Chapter also awarded and nominated several architects and firms for the state-level AIA competition, including Boulder-based Downing Thorpe and James, which picked up the Firm of the Year Award; the University of Colorado’s Williams Village won the 25-year state award for its continued existence; lighting engineer Nancy Clanton won the Contribution to the Built Environment Award; and Carl Worthington took honors as the Architect of the Year.

Another highlight of the awards ceremony was the Centerpiece Competition, which recognized the best designs by student architects from the University of Colorado’s School of Architecture and Planning.

“The architects attending the ceremony had a chance to bid on all of the Centerpiece student projects in a silent auction,” Spears said. “I think we raised over $600 for the students.”

The Mawson Block in Old Town Fort Collins seems to fit right in with the turn-of-the-century structures that make up this distinctive downtown area.

Upon close inspection, however, one notices the rhythmic masonry and brick details, curved steel canopies and balconies that comprise this 33,200-square-foot development are modern.

“Believe it or not, it’s new construction,´ said David Kress, a design architect for RB&B Architects Inc., which recently won the Commercial Mixed Use Project Honor Award and a merit award for the expansion of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins from the Colorado North Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The…

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