Detroit 1366 569 Kristy

As a child, when watching a sporting event, we frequently (okay, almost exclusively) cheered for the underdog. Often, they were defeated and we would shrug our shoulders in disappointment and maybe even wallow a bit in the loss. Occasionally, there was a victory, and the pure joy we felt was unparalleled. They defeated the odds. They proved them wrong. I love that story. I never tire of it and Detroit embodies it. 

I grew up near Detroit, which in my youth burned on Devil’s night, and was awash in trash, swirling around the streets until getting caught in the metal bars that covered storefronts. Astonishing buildings that were touted to be examples of some of the best architecture in the United States sat abandoned, neglected and left to vandals. Over the last few decades, when visiting the city, I would marvel at the sheer numbers of these beautiful historic structures, these forlorn elegant giants, and I would think, “Come on underdog…get going.”    

Detroit's Central Station
Central Station Detroit

We visited my favorite underdog city this month, and it was clear, the positive momentum has finally gained traction. The historic fabric is being mended and improved, not abandoned and demolished. The current redevelopment is thoughtful, deliberate and places restoration of the city in high regard. The old train station, which stands proud in Cork Town is a perfect example of this. The new owners, Ford Motor Company, are investing hundreds of millions of dollars not only in the building, but the surrounding neighborhood.  The industry that helped create this great city is now helping to bring it back. 

Shinola Hotel

During this visit, we stayed at The Shinola Hotel which is also emblematic of the city’s historic fabric being woven into a new story without losing sight of the original narrative. The Shinola property actually consists of five buildings, two of which are historic. They retained the elaborate red tiled facade of the Rayl building which was designed by Wirt Rowland, an architect known for innovative use of materials. They also remodeled the Singer Building, which was designed by what is now the nation’s oldest continuously operating architectural firm (Smith, Hinchman & Grylls). It used to house the Singer Sewing Machine Company and is clad in limestone. Yet, there is more history at which one can marvel; part of the Shinola property also includes Parker’s Alley, which is an homage to Thomas Parker. He was one of Detroit’s first black landowners and the exact lot (Lot 70 in section 7) is subsumed within the Shinola development. He bought that lot for $1 in a land drawing that occurred after the great fire of 1805. Clearly, Mr. Parker believed in underdogs too.

Upon entering the hotel, you sense the history and importance of the building. The finishes are elegant, simple and the craftsmanship, exemplary. The historical importance of the buildings’ sensitive remodel is not only imparted to visitors in their guestbooks, but also in video clips played in their rooms. One of the most striking aspects of this elegant hotel is how comfortable and welcomed you feel here. The Hotel staff beam with pride about the project, but there is no arrogance or entitlement. Along with pride, they demonstrate equal amounts of humility and appreciation. That trifecta is born from struggle and this is the quintessential experience you get from this city and it’s people.

On the plane ride home, I reflected on the history of Detroit, and realized that the fire of 1805 unbeknownst to the city and the future residents, ended up providing the framework for the grit, the heart, and the perseverance that has made Detroit what it is today. That fire leveled the city, save for one stone fort; however, the people of Detroit did not abandon their town. Shortly thereafter, Father Gabriel Richard penned the city’s motto: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus,” which translates to “We hope for better things; it shall arise from the ashes.” Such is the spirit of an underdog.

Photo Credits: Joe’s Fist:; Central Station: Derek Gauci; Shinola Hotel: Wall Street Journal

Ivy Residences

IVY Residences

IVY Residences 1466 896 Kristy

Located in the heart of the vibrant LoHi neighborhood, our project with Elevation Capital Partners is almost complete!  This 37,400 SF building delivers 25 luxury apartments to a thriving neighborhood which bustles with nightlife. We employed a restrained architectural approach to ensure this project has a sophisticated and timeless quality which fits into the historic context of the neighborhood. Most of the units are already sold, but if you are lucky, you may still be able to grab one.  To have an immersive experience, watch the video here.  To find your new home at Ivy, click here

Interior Rendering of Ivy
Basecamp Excavation

Basecamp Excavation

Basecamp Excavation 5472 3078 Kristy

Excavation is underway in Golden for our Basecamp project, which encompasses three buildings:  (2) 36-unit apartment buildings and (1) 48-suite hotel. These three buildings are sensitively sited with the lowest height apartment fronting 8th street and the larger buildings set father back on the downward sloping grade.  Combined, the apartments will provide 85,000 SF of living space.  Fear not, the the scale is broken down into smaller masses that incorporate seamlessly into the picturesque setting.  At the heart of this project is The Eddy, a four-story, 32,000 SF hotel boasting a bar, lounge, meeting room, outdoor gathering space and a rooftop deck with a fire pit.  The hotel is designed with articulated brick bays, reminiscent of the historic buildings of Golden’s past.  A shout out to all the neighbors…Starting in 2020, when the project is complete, if you stroll past The Eddy you will find yourself being beckoned by the first floor pub and outdoor amenity space.  This will be a perfect gathering spot for all of us locals, who are looking to kick back and enjoy the sun setting over the Rocky Mountains.  Cheers to Confluence Companies for developing another project that enhances our Colorado community!

Eddy Hotel
Initial Rendering of The Eddy Hotel
The Wrigley On Penn

Wash Park Mixed Use Complete!

Wash Park Mixed Use Complete! 4032 3024 Kristy

The Wrigley is complete!  We are so  thankful to have been a part of this fantastic project which is located in West Wash Park, a stone’s throw away from the heart of downtown Denver.  The twenty-nine luxury condos sit perched atop 10,000 square feet of retail space-now claimed by all kinds of fantastic businesses…from Uncle to Fitwall to American Grind.   The lucky residents can just pop downstairs for a quick workout or bite to eat!  It is a charming neighborhood and we certainly wanted to honor that with a timeless design that welcomes community engagement with a highly activated first floor.  If you finish up a run at Wash Park, and are heading North (and a little West) pop over and grab a burger or a giant bowl of ramen…whatever floats your boat.   You may even be able to grab a condo unit…click here for more information.  


Timberline Amenity Space

Timberline Farms

Timberline Farms 5760 3840 Kristy

We are happy to announce the completion of this project!   Confluence Companies hired us for master planning and architectural design services on this 26.5 acre site, which is nestled between downtown Denver and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  The developer wished to embrace a rural aesthetic, so traditional farmhouse designs were modernized to create a contemporary, relaxed home environment for the residents.  The community consists of 314 units: 14 apartment buildings and 12 for-rent homes. Employing principles of New Urbanist Communities, we designed units with front porches and balconies which face narrower streets in this highly walk-able community.   There is a central green way, with garden plots and a farmhouse.  Further, there is a clubhouse, state of the art fitness center, and expansive swimming pool and deck.  All of these spaces invite residents to engage with each other and the community.  Apparently, this approach has been well received because leasing happened at breakneck speed.  If you are headed out of the big city, you should stop in and check it out! You can visit their website here.

Timberline Farms
Timberline Residences
Timberline Pool
Pool Deck at Timerbline Farms
Hoops at Timberline

38th & Blake Project

The Foundry

The Foundry 4000 2188 Kristy

We have been hired by McWhinney to design a 17-story mixed-use building in RiNo.  Located right across from the light rail station, this 474,000 GSF project will deliver 438 residential apartments, 8,000 SF of retail and 5,000 SF of office space.  There will be a rooftop pool and additional amenities on the 16th & 17th floors, allowing residents to enjoy expansive views of the Rocky Mountains and the Denver city skyline.  Energy efficiency was paramount in all aspects of design from architecture to mechanical, electrical and plumbing considerations.  Furthermore, there will be at least 30 income restricted units, which will help to bring additional affordable housing to downtown.  When you wonder, can Denver keep getting better?  The answer is a resounding, YES!  To read more about this project, click here.

17 Story Mixed Use in RiNo
The Foundry
School of Mines Topping Out

School of Mines Topping out party

School of Mines Topping out party 4032 3024 Kristy

Confluence Companies just held their topping out party for the newest Colorado School of Mines Residence Hall which is a four-story project perched on 1.38 acres.  Craine designed the sophomore residence hall, which features 107 suite style dorm units (249 bedrooms) and 4,000 SF of commercial space.  This is CSM’s and the city of Golden’s first LEED Platinum project.  What an exciting time to be a student in Golden!  Expected completion is Spring 2020. To read more about this project, click here.

Dorm room with a view!
What some lucky students will be seeing out their window…talk about a dorm room with a view!
Colorado School of Mines
Opening Spring of 2020!

Sova-come enjoy the view

Sova-come enjoy the view 7952 4917 Kristy

From the start of design, McWhinney and Craine Architecture have worked with the collective goal to deliver a timeless building to Uptown, designed with thoughtful consideration to the neighborhood, the greater Denver community, and the environment.  The result is a mature and refined building (built by Weitz) that will age well and help to contribute to a sense of permanence in the Denver cityscape.  When you walk past Sova, you will find it to be an inviting and calming presence that welcomes it’s residents, and engages the street. If you would like to read more about Sova, click here.  

Sova-Multifamily Residential Denver
SOVA (Koerbel Photography)
SOVA (Koerbel Photography)
The Hooper

The Hooper is coming!

The Hooper is coming! 5000 3500 Kristy

The Hooper, designed by Craine Architecture, further defines the intersection of 26th and Welton Streets, architecturally and programmatically complimenting the recently completed Lydian across the street.  The massing and materiality of the building demonstrates a sensitivity to the neighborhood context, both new and old, while the details are appropriately crafted to distinguish the building with a personality of its own.  Heavy on the efficiency studios, the residential offering at The Hooper will contribute to a broad range of contemporary home types in the neighborhood.  Building on the success of the Craft co-work office space at The Lydian, The Hooper will provide a mix of flexible collaborative workspace as well as traditional office configurations.  The ground floor will be home to the distinctive community-centric Busboys and Poets, a gathering space intended (in the words of the establishment’s founder) “…to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…”  There could not be a better descriptor for this building and the spaces within.

The Denver Post recently published this article and you can read more about this project here.

RiNo Mixed Use

RiNo Project Breaks Ground

RiNo Project Breaks Ground 5000 2813 Kristy

We were hired by Zocalo Community Development to design a thirteen story project that will deliver 381 apartments, a high-quality fitness center and 9500 SF of retail space to the River North neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.  This project aims to bring affordable units to RiNo, the majority of which are studio and one-bedroom apartments.   The location is one where residents will be able to easily embrace city life without needing a car.  To read more about this project, click here.