the aerie

READ THE BLOG making good on a promise
READ THE BLOG permit in hand!
READ THE BLOG what’s in a name?
READ THE BLOG my grama and your grama








interior common space




unit 109







architectural renderings

North West Corner Render


Courtyard Render

South West Corner Render

North East Corner Render




exterior & interior signage




code signage


unit signage in collaboration with arts street


furniture and art selection





custom art design

North East to West _ Autorebuil



Developer | Denver Housing Authority

Design Team Lead | WORKSHOP8
Architect & Project Manager
 | Joseph Vigil
Creative Director | Brandy LeMae
Assistant Project Manager | Emily Axtman
Production Support | Emily Axtman, Graham Bowman, Nathan Stark, Kasia Kubia, Ivan Patino
Interior Designers | Ulla Lange, Kate Van Sluyter and Chelsea Semelka
Graphic Designers | Melissa McGinley and Graham Bowman

General Contractor | Deneuve Construction
Landscape Architect | 360 Design
Civil Engineer | Jansen Strawn
Structural Engineer | JVA Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer | Given Associates
LEED Consultant | Noresco
Community Outreach | Perspective3
Entitlements Consultant | Sky to Ground
Sign Fabricator | Avalis Way Finding Solutions
Art Fabricator | PhotoCraft Imaging
Unit Sign Designers | cool teens at Arts Street

Photographer | Daniel O’Connor
Unit 109 Stager | Next Stage Interiors

  • Site Planning
  • Programming
  • Architectural Design
  • Interior Design
  • Community Engagement
  • Branding
  • Logo Design
  • Signage Design
  • Art Selection
  • Art Design
  • Construction Administration

The Aerie is the sixth phase of The Denver Housing Authority’s Mariposa Neighborhood (South Lincoln Redevelopment), a 17.5 acre mixed-used, mixed-income, transit-oriented development (TOD) community. Seen as a national model for TOD, the redevelopment demonstrates innovative and exceptional community planning. Renewable energy systems, healthy living through environmentally friendly materials, attention to indoor air quality, access to quality food sources, and encouragement of active lifestyles are all staples of the redevelopment.

The Aerie implements Enterprise Green Community standards. The installation of a 99 KW solar photovoltaic array and a highly efficient HVAC system meets DHA’s aggressive low carbon footprint goals while meeting budget mandates. The project is expected to achieve LEED Platinum in 2016.

location1090 Osage Street, Denver CO
timelinedesign began
construction began
construction complete
August 2013
September 2014
June 2016
typemixed-use, mixed income multifamily housing, type V-A construction, zoning C-MX-8
lot size1.45 Acres
unit mixfive 4 bedroom two-story town homes
five 3 bedroom two-story town homes
thirty-nine 2 bedroom apartment flats
forty-five 1 bedroom apartment flats
building size97,956 SF residential
1,800 SF commercial
27,068 SF garage
11,000 SF interior courtyard
construction cost         $18,700,000
parking94 auto: covered and secured
32 bike: conditioned and secured

The Aerie includes 10 three and four bedroom town-home style units and 84 one and two bedroom flats for a total of 94 residential units. There is 1,800 SF of ground-floor commercial space dedicated to a local non-profit, Bikes Together. The architectural design concept took inspiration from a phrase found in a neighborhood mural: “Learning from the past, focused on the future.” WORKSHOP8 worked closely with the community to incorporate historic design references and juxtapose them with contemporary forms and materials. The large building is made to appear as several different buildings through the articulation of building mass, multiple facades, and a rich palette of materials. The form of the building mimics that of a large nest (reflected in the name) with four distinct facades and a second-floor courtyard. The parking is hidden within the building on the ground floor with a partially open ceiling to the courtyard above. The prow on the 11th and Navajo corner overlooks public space across the street providing “eyes on the park”. The east staircase is glazed on two sides providing amazing views to downtown Denver and Lincoln / La Alma Park. The building has two additional stair towers and the elevators are de-emphasized encouraging residents to be active.

The 11,000 SF second-floor interior courtyard provides a secure, private gathering space for residents and their guests. The large cut-out in the center allows for full-size trees to grow from the middle of the parking lot below. The over-size, distinctive pots are irrigated and add to the visual palette of the exterior space. The shade structure provides a shelter for picnic tables. Nestled in the southeast corner, there is a natural play area for kids with boulders and squishy, rubber ground cover. The grill area located at the northeast corner overlooks the park across the street. Plant selection includes: sedum ground cover, trees and grasses specified for our local climate. The amorphic benches reinforce the curving shape of the pots and planting beds softening an otherwise rigid building form. The festoon lighting is on a timer and lends to the festive atmosphere on this lively patio. The design team aimed to create functional and high-quality outdoor spaces providing the residents with a sense of ownership and privacy.

The Housing Authority wanted to minimize interior common space in the project in order to control construction costs; however, there are several congregation areas located on each floor where residents can mingle, relax and study. Each floor is identified with two colors inspired by birds of Colorado. Floor 1 is blue for the Jay and Indigo Bunting; Floor 2 is red for the Red Winged Blackbird and the Pine Grosbeak; Floor 3 is yellow for the Orchard Oriole and Western Tanager; Floor 4 is Green for the Green Tailed Towhee and the Warbler. Colored rubber flooring serves as way finding in the space; green in the south stair and elevator, red in the north, and gray in the east stair.

Ample windows scattered throughout the building frame great views to downtown Denver, the interior courtyard, and the park across the street. Where it wasn’t possible to locate windows at the end of long halls, WORKSHOP8 selected art pieces to serve as terminuses to the corridor. Keeping with the theme of the building, the art contains abstract imagery that refers to feathers, birds, nests, and nature. WORKSHOP8 coordinated all furniture, artwork, and wayfinding signage.

The units are designed with a simple, timeless pallet of materials that worked within the Housing Authority’s budget. They are well-lit with nine foot high ceilings. Each unit has a washer and dryer housed within a large Colorado closet that residents can use for the storage of bikes, skis, and other bulky items. There are two unit color schemes; one dark with gray floors and a deep brown accent wall and the other light with rich wood tone floors and a softer accent wall. Both schemes have plush, neutral carpet in the bedrooms to create a cozy feeling. White solid surface countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms provide a durable work surface with a modern vibe.

Effective and well thought out floor plans provide for efficient use of space and construction cost control. The building contains 11 different floor plans. Fifteen units have front doors on the street / ground floor and 12 have doors that open onto the courtyard.

WORKSHOP8 designed four custom art pieces for the Aerie.

The largest piece, “Colorado Triangles” is installed in the active 3-story stairwell located on the northeast corner of the building and consists of 42 individual triangle shaped plywood pieces. The imagery represents Colorado, Denver, birds, and nests.

“Green and Yellow Birds” is an eight-panel plywood piece located on the forth floor.

“The Silver Bird’s Nest” features the 1853 poem by Miss H.F. Gould and is located near the building’s front entrance and mail boxes.

“Birds in Flight” (not shown) features a digitized image of birds in flight photographed by a local Colorado photographer.

WORKSHOP8 developed the name and logo for this 94-unit mixed-income apartment building in Denver. The geometry represents an abstracted bird’s nest and was translated into a three-dimensional sign for the exterior. It is also used throughout the building on the wayfinding signage. WORKSHOP8 designed all code-compliant signs and worked with a local non-profit youth art group, Arts Street, to develop individual unit signs for each of the 94 apartments. Keeping with the theme of the building, the unit signage contains imagery of feathers, birds, nature and nests.