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December 6-19, 2017 Page 29

2017 Denver Design Merit Award Winner

e Halcyon Hotel, gkkworks

The voice of Colorado architects for

125 years

AIA Colorado empowers members to design

and strengthen our communities.

Through advocacy, leadership development and education, we

support architecture professionals in designing a better world

where we all can thrive.

Our statewide network of more than 2,300 members includes

architects, those working towards licensure and allied industry


For more information

about AIA Colorado, our

2017 award-winning

architects and a directory

of Colorado architecture

firms, visit


olorado has seen an

influx of residents and

a surge of develop-

ment, sparking a need for the

major metro areas to carefully

consider how they can sustain

and plan for the future. For the

city of Fort Collins, which is the

fourth largest metro area in the

state, the conversation is around

effective infill. How can new

developments provide value to

surrounding homes and busi-

nesses with quality design and an

architecture that speaks of today,

while still retaining compatibility

with historic buildings and filling

the space between them?

Faced with the challenge of bal-

ancing Fort Collins’ unprecedent-

ed growth with historic preserva-

tion,AIAColorado architects have

been meeting with community

members to discuss fundamental

design and preservation princi-

ples, and to explore case studies of

innovative design solutions that

meet the needs of all stakeholders.

In late October, the AIA Colo-

rado North Infill Taskforce hosted

the first of two community work-

shops to address infill develop-

ment in downtown Fort Collins.

AIA Colorado members, includ-

ing myself, Stacee Kersley, Lau-

rie Davis, Megin Rux and Randy

Shor t r idge ,

led the work-

shop, bringing

together more

than 75 design


commun i t y

members and

city officials –

including Fort

Collins Mayor

Wade Troxell –

to explore the

issue from a

variety of per-


“An informed public is a more

thoughtful public when it comes

to shaping our community’s

future, while also preserving our

culture and heritage,” said Kers-

ley when explaining the signifi-

cance of this forum.

Annie Levinsky, executive

director of Historic Denver Inc.,

gave the workshop’s keynote pre-

sentation and shared her experi-

ence in supporting Denver’s pres-

ervation efforts while simultane-

ously encouraging the develop-

ment of dynamic neighborhoods.

She stressed the importance of

convening stakeholders to guide

these efforts.

“It’s important for communi-

ties to have these conversations

because the public realm is some-

thing we all share and it makes

up the quality of the places where

we live, invest in and love,” said

Levinsky. “We need to have both

design professionals and citizens


Levinsky also discussed the

advantages of placemaking and

designing around landmarks –

something that has been a focus

in Denver.

“Are we building places that

are consistent with our character,

and that are built to endure and

become the fabric of our city?”

asked Levinsky. “Or are we build-

ing something that we will have

to just tear down and refill again

in the next generation?”

Meg Dunn, author of the blog

“Forgotten Fort Collins,” raised

an important question about pre-

serving the distinct identity of

Fort Collins. “We don’t want to

lose the characteristics that make

our community special, but at the

same time we have to keep grow-

ing,” stated Dunn.

Matt Robenalt, executive direc-

tor of Fort Collins Downtown

Development Authority, encour-

aged design professionals to help

address the issue of growth, sug-

gesting that good design and new

development can work in tan-


“We’re facing housing afford-

ability issues, and Fort Col-

lins seems to hate sprawl with

as much vigor as it hates den-

sity,” said Robenalt. “If we allow

designers to do the things they

are really good at, they canhelpus

overcome our concerns.”

Karl Barton, AICP, senior plan-

ner at Sanderson Stewart and

member of the taskforce, under-

scored the need to maintain high

standards and to create proj-

ects that are appropriate, well

designed and beneficial for the


“So much of the success of

Colorado’s communities is reliant

on their ability to grow not just

outward, but also through infill,”

remarked Barton. “Our current

challenge in Fort Collins is over-

coming opposition to good infill

projects, while at the same time

knowing when, and having the

ability, to not support projects that

do not meet these standards.”

Overall, the attendees expressed

hope that Fort Collinswill grow in

a way that allows the city to pre-

serve its unique identity, not only

by restoring beloved spaces, but

also by ensuring that new places

reflect the character of the place

and are built to last.

Equipped with this initial feed-

back, AIA Colorado’s North Infill

Taskforce will continue to lead

the conversation on infill and his-

toric preservation, beginning with

Fort Collins. Heading into 2018,

the group hopes to continue to

cultivate knowledge about the

critical elements of a successful

design and encourage stakehold-

ers to meaningfully engage in the

design process.


Architects, community, city officials address Fort Collins infill

Ian Shuff, AIA

Principal, alm2s.

Shuff also is

chairman of the AIA

Colorado North Infill


“Are we building places that are

consistent with our character, and

that are built to endure and become

the fabric of our city?”

– Annie Levinsky, Historic Denver Inc.