CCA’s Affordable Housing Project in Telluride Featured in Curbed

We were thrilled last week when Curbed covered our passion project, an affordable housing complex in Telluride, Colorado. Virginia Placer includes a combination of communal living, tiny homes and apartment units; and was designed for the Telluride residents who are the backbone and soul of the town.

Comprised of 18 apartment units, a 46-bed Boarding House and 3 Tiny Homes, the project accommodates a mix of incomes, individuals and families. According to Charles, it’s truly a labor of love. “When a community is stable (i.e. when people can afford to live there, even if it’s in subsidized),” explains Charles, “inhabitants on both ends of the financial spectrum benefit and thrive.”  A balance was struck between affordability and sustainability with passive solar and ventilation, maintenance-free materials, and design in this new neighborhood a short walk from downtown Telluride.

Read the entire article, here.


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Project Spotlight: Frazier Homestead

Every so often a project grabs ahold of us and won’t let go. That’s what happened when we were commissioned to design an 11,800 square foot home on Wilson Mesa. Atop a windy bluff near Telluride, Colorado, the site–a historical ruin–was remote and uncompromising; a reminder of ancient times and the ultimate challenge to execute the future of design.

The homeowners wanted something that would stand up to the unusually harsh elements, while adhering to its storied past. To further the design intent we utilized the existing rubble, which was reminiscent of the ancient masonry structures of those who once inhabited the land, the Anasazi people. Additionally, we kept the stone outcrop, which had fractured off of the matrix of the sandstone, through numerous freeze-thaw cycles, building a virtual a fortress for its inhabitants.

Inside, glass was a natural complement to the onsite minerals and a necessary requisite for capturing the extraordinary views. Copper cladding, indigenous to the region, were a nod to technological advancements within the location and palette of the ancient stone. “The transition in the patina of the copper over time will allow a graceful aging process,” explains CCA Founder Charles Cunniffe, who loves to reminisce about this project.

We are proud of this unusual but striking abode. It’s ageless and timeless which is what we strive for with all of our buildings. To see more visit our website.


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Top 5 Attributes to Design Your Sustainable Legacy Home

Last month, one of our favorite projects, Elk Peak Ranch, was named ‘Home of the Year’ by Mountain Living Magazine.  The homeowners from Beverly Hills, CA, wanted a picturesque vacation retreat, but more, they wanted a family home that they could pass on to their children and grandchildren. The result was a stunning LEED Silver certified 15,000 sf home on a historic ranching property outside of Aspen.

At CCA, legacy homes–ones that can be passed on from generations of family–are vital to our clientele. We decided to come up with our own list of design tips to keeping a home efficient, so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.

  1. Pick your site wisely. Work with an architect to design the home on the site that maximizes passive solar and ventilation.
  2. Thoughtfully design a floor-plan that accommodates smaller and larger groups – since second homes are typically utilized differently throughout the year. Heat the spaces that are being utilized, vs. heating the whole house if only a portion is being enjoyed.
  3. Create a low-maintenance exterior by selecting materials that can withstand the elements and require minimal yearly maintenance. At Elk Peak Ranch, one of the exterior materials used was Rysysta siding, which is a sustainable, composite siding material.
  4. Reduce energy reliance and costs by integrating solar, geothermal and independent energy storage capabilities like batteries, generators, and fuel cells.
  5. Consider drought-tolerant plantings with high efficiency and limited irrigation system, for reduced water usage.


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CCA Named on “Best Places to Work” in the US

For the fourth year in a row, CCA was named one of a hundred “Best Places to Work in theUS” by Outside magazine. We are excited, of course, and honored to be named alongside a diverse group of companies like Young & Laramore (Indianapolis), GeoEX (San Francisco), and Bluetent (Carbondale, CO), who make a healthy office culture a point of pride.

Open to any business based in the US with over 15 permanent employees, this yearly contest is held in the spring and announced in the November issue. What exactly goes into determining winners? Entries are judged based on company policies, practices, benefits and demographics. In light of this distinction, our Marketing Director, Rebecca Richardson, asked some of our colleagues what makes the office culture special at CCA, beyond the ‘Friday Tech Talks’? Here’s what she got:




“Design comes first, always. With today’s competitive architectural market, good design sometimes gets pushed aside. Budget, schedules and local codes can often limit the design process. CCA emphasizes good design as integral and consistent from beginning to end, which is evidenced in our projects.” Jim Kehoe, Senior Project Architect


“Some companies tout being family-friendly, but CCA really emphasizes the importance of family time as well as time to achieve personal pursuits. CCA fully understands the value if a well-rounded and well-educated employee. I am given the ability to attend my child’s school performances as well as pursue my passion for history and art, all of which make for a better architect at the end of the day. We are all encouraged to prioritize our families and our individual interests, intellectual or out-of-doors.” Marina Skiles, Senior Project Architect


“Between composting, recycling, having a company Subaru and town bike, free bus passes, using recycled paper and soy-based inks, offering stand-up desks, healthy breakfasts, and refreshments, CCA doesn’t just talk-the-talk. As an industry, the architectural profession is very paper dependent, but CCA does its best to have an environmentally responsible and healthy office.” Toni Bradford, Executive Manager






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Architecture & Neuroscience

Recently, our Senior Project Architect/Design Leader Jim Kehoe sat down with Modern Luxury to discuss the study of architecture and neuroscience. Jim is truly passionate about the subject and educates our team on the findings presented in the many conferences he attends each year. Designing structures which bring calm, improve cognitive function, lower blood pressure and improve memory is a win-win. This concept is something we’ve been using for quite some time, and learning the science behind it, has been inspiring and greatly impactful.


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Project Spotlight – Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District

After designing Mountain Rescue Aspen’s new facility, our team has been commissioned by the Snowmass-Wildcat Protection District to design a much-needed new station in Snowmass, Colorado. Working with the team at Snowmass Fire has been nothing short of impressive. The dedicated crew and design team have worked synergistically to design a building that respects the taxpayer dollar, is built to stand the test of time, and allow future growth.

This week, the 46-year old fire house was deconstructed on Owl Creek Road in Snowmass Village, Colorado. The original structure, built in 1971 and designed by famed local architect and former 10th Mountain Division soldier, Fritz Benedict. Last November, district voters approved a $17 million bond to fund the new station, which will span approximately 26,000 sf and be constructed of stone, timber and wood siding. We are humbled and proud to the Architect selected to design the new facility and look forward to sharing it with you.

Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District

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Project Spotlight – Independence Retreat

Just in case you missed this award winning project…a look back at an Aspen retreat we designed for one amazing California family. Formerly a parking lot, the circular building site is shared with an adjacent home and guest house. In order to effectively fit the three structures, great thought was given to the positioning of the homes to maximize views, solar orientation, passive ventilation and afford them their desired privacy.

Clear Douglas Fir Beams integrated with steel gussets and knife plates are suspended from the vertical grain Cedar ceiling. Steel paneled interior columns with custom designed steel screws are seen throughout the home.

Continuing the warm yet contemporary feel, architectural grade stained concrete, glass, steel, efficient appliances, and passive solar and ventilation lend to the Owner’s program: providing generous entertaining spaces, comfortable guest suites, a contemporary mountain feel which speaks to its greater surroundings and respects the environment we live in. This home has won three prestigious architecture awards for design.

How do you like it?

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Friday TECH Talks

Each Friday, our team gathers for our weekly CCA TECH Talk. With coffee in-hand and breakfast from Whole Foods – we gather to discuss, explore, converse, laugh and learn.

Subjects run the gamut from the latest in technology applications, updates on processes and design, TED Talks on focus & efficiency, to design charrettes on the multitude of projects in the design process. Today’s talk was a team presentation on the Aspen City Hall design. Its a great way to wind up the week, fill our bellies and keep our team learning and engaged. Stop by and join us sometime!

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What’s trending in Aspen home design, you ask?

Charles sits down with Aspen Peak magazine to discuss the latest in Aspen home design. From legacy homes, open floor plans, and sustainability – in his 36 years he has seen a lot. And here is what is hot now!

Aspen Peak Magazine

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Project Spotlight: Aspen Police Department

Amongst state-wide competition, we were fortunate enough to be selected to design Aspen’s new Police Department.  Situated on a high-profile site on Main Street, the design responds to the irregular site and height variation by arranging the facility’s parking structure to daylight the north while designing the building and adjunct green space to maximize daylight and invigorate the connecting pedestrian trail. Light pours in through the clerestory spine running throughout the building’s expanse. Brick, stone and metal adorn the façade in a distinctive fashion, while deep overhangs hark to the historic mid-century modern architecture in the Aspen tradition.

The project has officially broken ground, and we look forward to seeing the hard working Police personnel in their first-ever home in Spring, 2018. Looking towards Aspen’s future, the Aspen Police included children in their groundbreaking ceremony, to honor their fundraising efforts. We are very proud to give the Aspen Police Department – Protecting the Wild West since 1880 – their first ever, official building in Aspen!

Groundbreaking Ceremony. Photo by Aspen Police Department

Groundbreaking Ceremony. Photo by Aspen Police Department


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