Dominic Weilminster, AIA, has come a long way in the eight years since beginning his career at Denver-based RNL Design as a student intern. After receiving a Masters of Architecture, Weilminster has led RNL’s design team in nearly a dozen projects, including: the in-progress Google Pearl Palace in Boulder, Colo.; the Hotel Learning Center at Metropolitan State University's Denver campus; a proposal for a non-lab research facility at Stanford; the Eastside Human Services facility for the City of Denver; and the second floor of his alma mater, the University of Colorado at Denver’s College of Architecture. Now, just a little over a year after RNL named Weilminster to its board of directors, AIA Colorado has named him its 2016 Emerging Young Professional of the Year.
Weilminster is one of ten winners and five honorable mention recipients recognized by the AIA chapter at last month’s Young Architects Awards Gala (YAAG), which honors emerging architects who have been licensed for fewer than 10 years. The Emerging Young Professional nod is the program's most prestigious: One juror said that there was "consensus that [Weilminster] was the natural winner for the award this year" due to his strong eye for design and his role as "a future leader within RNL through mentorship and commitment to the firm." The program’s 17th annual ceremony was held at Gensler’s Denver office on June 3rd.
The jury for this year’s awards program was led by chair Stephen Dynia, FAIA, principal and namesake of his Jackson, Wyo.-based firm and included Sarah Semple Brown, FAIA, founder of Denver-based Semple Brown Design; Renee del Gaudio, AIA, whose eponymous firm picked up a Merit Award for small residential architecture at AIA Colorado North’s Design Awards in 2015; Brent Mather, AIA, Design Director at Gensler’s Denver office; E.J. Meade, AIA, co-founder of Boulder, Colo.-based Arch11; and Adam Harding, AIA, project architect at Denver-based Roth Sheppard and AIA Colorado’s 2014 Young Architect of the Year.
Below are the additional 14 winners and honorable mentions:
Built Architecture - Under 20,000 Square Feet: Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins, Colorado Building Workshop - University of Colorado Denver
This is the Colorado Building Workshop at the University of Colorado Denver's third award for the first phase of its micro-dormitory housing project for the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) in Leadville, Colo. Recently, 28 students and three instructors from the Workshop spent over four months completing the final phase, adding seven additional micro cabins on-site where COBS staff will live year-round. The team devoted 16 weeks to designing and pre-fabricating, bearing in mind the necessary insulation and heat to make the cabins habitable at an altitude of 10,200 ft. Depending on seasonal accumulation, snow packed atop their flat roofs can provide an additional R-20 to R-30 of insulation, according to Colorado Building Workshop director Rick Sommerfield. A single electrical circuit powers each 200-square-foot cabin, whose walls are constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs) to "speed up the one month construction timeline," says Sommerfield.
Creative Concept: Tulum Table & Chair, Cam Tu Dang - Cam Dang Designs
Cam Tu Dang is the lead designer and maker at Denver-based Cam Dang Designs, and specializes in furniture and architectural design. Her winning concept is a simplistic table which opens into a storage unit set for two chairs. Inspired by micro-spaces, the project was designed to maintain the look of the original block of wood. A juror notes that the corners of the piece are elegantly done, and overall it is sculptural and inventive.
This isn’t the first award garnered by Gensler’s 110,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming, the only of its kind within the confines of a national park. In collaboration with Jackson, Wyo.-based Carney Logan Burke Architects, the firm implemented several sustainable initiatives in their design, such as "low-flow plumbing fixtures, regional and recycled materials, and Forest Stewardship Council-certified timber." The jury commemorated the project's full integration of structure and space, describing the final product as uniquely “tectonic.” “Just the way the lighting is tied into the trusses of the roof,” one juror said. “There is nothing that is excessive, it’s very well-edited.”
Craftsmanship - Artistic: Amass, Brittany Wheeler - Tomecek Studio Architects
A cluster of nails is the primary material of the project, therefore featuring the tools as more than fastening devices yet making noticeable their codependent relationship with other construction materials. The project highlights important materials in construction that go unrecognized. The jurors were impressed with the juxtapositions the project sets up, like appearing delicate yet brutal, and one juror said it was one of the most incredible things he had seen all day. Wheeler is currently a master’s student studying architecture at CU Denver.
Adaptive Reuse and/or Historic Preservation: White House Tavern, Dana Ganssle Ellis, Assoc. AIA - Rowland + Broughton Architecture
The Hillstone Restaurant Group acquired the site to transform an alley shed and miner’s cabin, a historic landmark of the City of Aspen, into a restaurant that one juror says is his favorite place to visit in Aspen. An existing fireplace has been refurbished in the kitchen, whereas an oven has been carefully added. All renovations were conducted with the help of the City of Aspen Historic Preservation Commission. Dana Ganssle Ellis is a project manager at the Aspen office of architecture firm Rowland+Broughton Architecture and was involved with the renovations of Justice Snow’s and The Little Nell’s Element 47.
“Staying relevant in the sneaker industry demands an impactful and memorable brick-and-mortar experience,” says Thomas Harris, a designer at HDR. Collaborating with his fiancée, Patricia ‘Patty’ Gut of Studiotrope Design Collective, two timber columns down the middle of Bows and Arrows, a sneaker shop in Berkeley, California, make up the installation that earned the couple an award at YAAG. “Retail is about crafting a great customer experience,” one juror says, “the simple form is clear through the imagery and the diagramming throughout the entire presentation.”
Unbuilt Architecture - over 20,000 Square Feet: New Haven Basilica, Adam Wagoner and Raphael de la Fontaine - Yale School of Architecture
The ideas driving Adam Wagoner and Raphael de la Fontaine’s New Haven Basilica take after what they claim are those of the original Catholic Church: to establish a sacred presence by interrupting the homogeneity of public space. In other words, The Yale School of Architecture graduates wanted to create a space that stood out, and this year’s jurors agreed they accomplished just that:“across the room I could look at this and say: this is an idea,” one juror said, noting the “sculpted space” within the proposed building’s interior. “The term poché is so appropriate for this project,” he went on, highlighting the carved masses intended for the basilica’s wall space.
Unbuilt Architecture – Under 20,000 Square Feet: [N]stall , Mike Sudolsky, Assoc. AIA
Mike Sudolsky recognized an inefficient use of space in Denver and crafted a concept for temporary homeless shelters to fit into these small unused areas. Jurors called Sudolsky's project genius and love it for its achievable, humanitarian mission. His research aided in the manifestation of an inexpensive concept, and became an important aspect of his project by providing jurors with the number of underutilized spaces in the city and the number of homeless people that can be housed with the shelters.
Portfolio - Kaylyn Kirby, Assoc. AIA - HDR
Kaylyn Kirby is recognized for the portfolio she created throughout her undergraduate and graduate years which focuses on culture and environment, and “architecture through place and context.” Jurors were awed by her work,“"this is very promising in the career of the author in how the story is told, in how the work is presented and how one understands communicating architecture because it will translate into good and better buildings." She is currently the architectural project coordinator for HDR's Denver architecture studio.
[Honorable Mention] Unbuilt Architecture - Under 20,000 Square Feet: Terre & Eau, Kaylyn Kirby, Assoc. AIA - HDR
[Honorable Mention] Unbuilt Architecture - Over 20,000 Square Feet: Sky Tower, Brian Martin - Brian Tomecek Architecture
[Honorable Mention] Adaptive Reuse and/or Historic Preservation: Seed Building, Eric Blase, Georgia Brown, Tim Hutchinson and Jonas Phillipsen - Gensler
[Honorable Mention] Creative Concept: Erganomi, Stephanie Wood - University of Colorado Denver
[Honorable Mention] Craftsmanship - Artistic: Germany Holocaust Memorial, Rachel Cusimano, AIA