Tallest Mass-Timber Structure in Colorado Wins National Award

Renderings courtesy of Tres Birds.

On June 23, local developer Katz Development was recognized by USDA Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board, at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Chicago, for their efforts to reduce carbon and propel architectural innovation in their Denver-based mass timber housing project, Return to Form, a boutique, nature-driven high-rise apartment building located at 3495 Wynkoop in the center of RiNo. Upon completion, the 12-story project will be the tallest mass timber structure in the state of Colorado and the second tallest in the United States.

Out of dozens of proposals submitted to the Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon only six proposals were selected. The competition awarded funds totaling $2 million to support the winning projects which demonstrate mass timber’s application across select building types and the ability to aggressively reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.
Katz Development was awarded a $250,000 grant as a result of the competition.

Designed by award-winning architecture and design firm, Tres Birds, Return to Form employs an environmentally-conscious construction type that maximizes residents’ connection to nature while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

“We have assembled a world-class team including some of the leading mass timber experts in the country to execute the vision for Return to Form. We are incredibly excited to deliver a new type of living experience to the most exciting neighborhood in
downtown Denver,” said Andrew Katz, founder and principal of Katz Development.

Katz Development has been involved in changes to the International Building Code to permit 100 percent exposure of mass timber in high-rise construction up to 12 stories.

“Trees are powerful in their strength, beauty, and ability to connect with people. Working with regional wood on this scale allows us to create high impact design with minimal fossil fuel usage in the construction process,” Michael M. Moore, design principal at Tres Birds.

This cutting-edge project aims to maximize a small, urban-infill lot to add both density and value to the neighborhood. In a market where new development can feel like a commodity, Return to Form aims to rediscover a human-centric, community-focused approach to design. Some of Denver’s most desirable buildings are old brick and timber lofts found in LoDo along Wynkoop Street. Further north on Wynkoop Street in the heart of RiNo, Return to Form seeks to create a modernized version of these timeless buildings. Residents will experience a biophilic living environment surrounded by warm, natural wood harvested from U.S. Forests.

Return to Form is scheduled to break ground in spring 2023.

Project Team: 
Developer: Katz Development
Architect/Designers: Tres Birds 
Construction: Swinerton Builders
Mass Timber Consultant: Timberlab
Structural Engineer: KL&A
Owner’s Representative: Belay Development
MEP + Fire Protection Engineering: ARUP
Civil Engineering: Wilson & Company

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