HPA wins 2018 “Notable in Denver” AIA Colorado Award!

September 9th, 2018

Humphries Poli Architects, in partnership with Roth Sheppard Architects, receives 2018 “Notable in Denver” Award!

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Colorado presented Humphries Poli Architects (HPA) and Roth Sheppard Architects a 2018 “Notable in Denver” award for The Montezuma County Courthouse. Humphries Poli Architects was the architect of record. The award was presented to at the 2018 AIA Colorado Awards Gala on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Denver, Colo. Dennis Humphries accepted the award for HPA. Design Awards were presented this year to deserving members of the Colorado architecture community each recognizing build, materials, aesthetics, space and design.

This LEED Gold certified project was completed in July 2017. The newly constructed, 33,000 sq. ft. building with a linear public corridor and an opposing linear staff corridor frame the interior providing for a clear articulation between secure and non-secure spaces.

The project centralizes judicial services for the County and includes a design that was derived from the Anasazi structures recessed in the nearby Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. The distinctive Kiva element near the main public entry defines the entry plaza and functions as a public community room when not in use as a jury assembly.

“The overall wedge-like form of the main building is symbolic of the overhanging crevice in the Mesa Verde mountainside while also referencing the simple shed-like structures found within this agricultural community,” said Dennis Humphries, who led the project.

“Slot windows within the Kiva element are placed to frame views of the significant mountain peaks from the center point of the Kiva,” said Berryhill, a partner at Roth Sheppard.  “The ceiling inside the kiva includes an array of LED can lights that recall the Orion constellation, which was significant to the Pueblo people.”

The material palette, fenestration, building orientation, shaded walkways and on-site water collection and natural filtration systems respond to the harsh climatic conditions in this arid region where exterior temperatures can exceed 100 Degrees in the summer and dip well below freezing in the winter.

The $8,400,000 budget (including furniture and site) necessitated a 1 story building as well as the creative use of a pre-engineered metal building. The exterior is clad in a rusted metal panel, stucco and low e-glazing. The interior palette consists of white walls (to refract and reflect light), as well as wood flooring and wood millwork interventions.

The true origins of this design can be traced back to 1200AD when the ancestral Pueblo people constructed a city in the Mesa Verde cliffs (located in Montezuma County) containing 4 story buildings with multiple dwelling units, gathering spaces, central courtyards, and Kivas. Buildings were oriented to the south with mass walls and small apertures to respond to the intense desert heat and diurnal temperature swings. The design concept takes its clues from Mesa Verde and the surrounding agrarian context.

The courthouse building is elongated along an east/west oriented axis to reduce energy costs and provide views to the Ute Mountain range and the San Juan Mountains. This orientation also allows for an axial alignment with Mount Wilson: a revered natural icon. The significant overhang on the south façade shades the clerestory from direct summer sun, allowing for daylight to penetrate the lobby and the courtrooms beyond. The solidity of massing and repetition of punched openings in the wall below the overhang are derivative of the dwellings within Mesa Verde, where narrow vertically oriented apertures provide security and controlled daylight.

A linear public corridor and an opposing linear staff corridor frame the interior providing for a clear articulation between secure and nonsecure spaces. On the secure staff side of the building, there are two interlocked interior hallway sallyports that allow for staff circulation and secure prisoner circulation to remain on the same level. To signify the tradition and formality of the court system, all courtrooms are designed with asymmetrically composed interior and a central Judge’s bench. Natural wood interior interventions within the courtrooms and within the linear lobby add a sense of warmth. The linear public hall/ lobby that stretches across the entirety of the floor plan is designed to extend in the future to allow for additional courtrooms. The material palette, fenestration, building orientation, shaded walkways and on-site water collection and natural filtration systems respond to the harsh climatic conditions in this arid region where exterior temperatures can exceed 100 Degrees in the summer and dip well below freezing in the winter.