Arch11 Receives AIA Colorado Top Honors for Mixed-Use Building Design in Downtown Boulder at 2018 Awards

Share Article

Denver and Boulder architecture firm Arch11 earned two awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Colorado for their design of a mixed-use commercial building in Boulder‘s historical downtown. A modern three-story sustainable building referencing the height and proportions of its turn-of-the-century neighbors, the Arch11-designed 909 Walnut project received both the AIA Colorado Notable in the North award and a Colorado Award of Excellence.

Arch11’s design for a sustainable, mixed-use commercial building at 909 Walnut on one of Boulder’s last downtown infill sites was honored with two 2018 AIA Colorado awards (photo by Raul Garcia).

AIA Colorado characterizes this year’s winners as “pushing their designs to the next level."

Boulder/Denver architecture firm Arch11 received top honors from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Colorado at the organization’s recent Design & Honor Awards Gala. AIA Colorado characterizes this year’s winners as “pushing their designs to the next level so that they serve the community and clients, both today and in the future.” Arch11 received both the AIA Colorado Notable in the North award and a Colorado Award of Excellence for its 909 Walnut Street project – a modern, mixed-use building in Boulder’s historical downtown.

The award-winning building at 909 Walnut Street is located on one of Downtown Boulder’s last remaining infill sites where the property owners envisioned an “exemplary” project that would combine their commercial objectives for a sustainable, mixed-use building with the aesthetic demands of the area’s turn-of-the-20th-century context. To maximize the desired outcome, Arch11’s Principal E.J. Meade and Project Architect Kimble Hobbs realized early in the process that to maintain the streetscape’s integrity, less would be more. Working within the City of Boulder’s Downtown Urban Design Guidelines and stringent zoning regulations, they manipulated the buildable volume to optimize square footage and provide daylight deep into the 14,475-square-foot structure.

A three-story structure with two floors of offices above a ground-floor restaurant, the 909 Walnut design references the height and proportions of its masonry neighbors while establishing its own presence in Boulder’s iconic low-rise commercial cityscape. To shade the south-facing glass along the street front, Arch11 suspended a slender brise-soleil made from terracotta “baguettes” from the building’s structure. About the delicately proportioned screening device that serves to both shade the interiors and maintain the established building edge along the sidewalk, the AIA jury said that they “loved the sunshade and the way it addressed the street.”

“Windows” on the 909 Walnut building were subtracted from the continuous sun screen to provide light and views from within and to emulate the look and proportions of its brick neighbors’ deep “punched” openings. Light scoops on the east and west sides of the building – where windows weren’t permitted – deliver additional daylight to the lobby and second- and third-floor offices. With a commitment to sustainable design throughout, the building’s energy performance was projected to be 43 percent better than a similarly sized/located baseline building.

Overall, the AIA Colorado jury praised the project as “beautiful!” and appreciated it as “sophisticated and well-accomplished inside and out.” Of the honor, Arch11’s Hobbs says, “Arch11 is grateful to have been a part of this project and delighted to have it receive the highest honor from the awards jury. With this award,” he adds, “we are reminded that good buildings are rarely possible without a patient, understanding client and a team willing to put hard work into the pursuit of ideas.”

Arch11 has previously proven its ability to creatively repurpose buildings with contemporary design solutions that respect the past in projects such as Boulder’s 1904 Pearl Street and the Canyon Center office building. Similarly, such Arch11-designed restaurants as Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, and Denver’s Humboldt, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Ignite! have each given new life to older structures while reflecting the authenticity of the place.

About Arch11:
Founded in 1993, Arch11 has gained recognition for projects ranging from exceptional residences to institutional planning, mixed-use development and product design, including a 2009 Firm of the Year Award from the Colorado AIA North chapter, and in 2017 principal E.J. Meade received Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine’s Circle of Excellence Award. With offices in Boulder and Denver, Colo., Arch11 has over 30 combined years of green building technology leadership. The team’s unusual level of hands-on experience ranges from boat building to furniture making, contributing to its reputation for commitment to craft, detailing and design integrity. For additional information visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Sarah Goldblatt

+1 3077345335
Email >
Visit website