After a one-year pause, the Mayor’s Design Awards are returning in 2021 to highlight the best in urban design in Denver. Since 2005, the Design Awards have honored projects throughout the city for excellence in architecture, exterior design and place-making. The awards are presented to Denver homeowners, business owners, nonprofits, artists and others for their creative contributions to the public realm through innovative design and place-making.
This year the awards will celebrate excellence in architecture, exterior design and place-making—not only in traditional building projects, but also in the temporary patios, outdoor activation projects and other design innovations spurred by the unique circumstances of the last year.
“These awards have always been about elevating the public realm, celebrating projects that create community while preserving Denver’s character,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “The challenges of the past year gave way to innovations that recognize the importance of the spaces we share, not only to our health, but also for our quality of life. I am looking forward to highlighting how great design serves our city.”
Many different types of projects are eligible. Previous award winners range from restaurants and galleries to private single-family homes to plazas and other shared public spaces. What each of the projects have in common is the imaginative and innovative way they enhance public spaces and create a sense of community.
Awards are given to the best projects submitted, regardless of project type. This year, the categories have been organized into four broad themes and are intended to provide guidance on what types of projects may be submitted and on what features may be considered award-worthy.
The award categories are…
An Inclusive City with Complete Neighborhoods
- Neighborhood Gem: Projects that exemplify the unique character of their neighborhoods and are recognized by the community as local treasures.
- Art All Around: Projects that involve murals, sculpture and other forms of art, highlighting local communities and cultures.
- This is Home: Projects that focus on housing, such as single-family homes, small-scale multi-family projects as well as accessory dwelling units and other forms of non-traditional housing.
- Distinctive Denver: Projects with unique features or elements that set them apart from similar structures, uses and building forms.
A Connected, Healthy City
- Landscapes in Focus: Projects that involve extensive and creative landscape design.
- Building Well, Living Well: Projects that promote community health through active living, access to healthy food and transit, or walkability.
- Active Spaces: Projects or events that activate public spaces in a way that creates interaction, discourse and community.
A Sustainable City
- Sustainable Style: Projects that make use of the Denver Green Code and/or promote sustainability, green building and new energy technologies.
- Back to the Future: Projects that involve the preservation of older, historic buildings and adaptive reuse. Nominated structures do not have to be designated landmarks.
- Density by Design: Large-scale projects, including multi-family and mixed-use developments, that address the city’s growth and its challenges, particularly in high-need and high-transit areas with an emphasis on great style and design.
To nominate a project, learn more about the Mayor’s Design Awards and see past winners, visit DenverGov.org/MDA. Nominations are due Friday, October 15, 2021.