Licensed less than ten years, CCY’s Todd Kennedy, AIA has designed numerous award-winning projects including Old Pond Residence, which received a 2017 AIA Colorado Award of Excellence, and Red Butte Residence, which received a 2017 AIA Colorado Award of Merit.
Most recently, his impressive design portfolio earned him the title of The American Institute of Architects Western Mountain Region’s 2018 Young Architect of the Year.
While Kennedy is honored to have earned this accolade, he insists he could not have done it alone.
“The jury comments mention my attention to detail and volume of work that values design, craft and detail. But none of those things were a result of my singular effort,” explained Kennedy. “I’m ecstatic about the award, but architecture, and especially CCY, is such a collaborative effort.”
To the AIA Western Mountain Region Jury, Kennedy’s work was a cut above the rest, noting “the intensity of [his] work and commitment to practice.” They also were impressed with the depth of his work in such a short career.
Though his career as a licensed architect has been short, Kennedy is not new to the profession. In fact, he committed to being an architect when he was just a freshman in high school. As a school assignment, Kennedy had to research careers and write a report on his ideal vocation. Memories of visiting downtown Chicago with his dad as a young boy informed his selection, and he chose to be an architect.
Kennedy made good on that ambition when he earned his degree from Iowa State—“I moved as far west as I could while still satisfying my overprotective midwestern parents,” Kennedy joked.
After college, Kennedy wanted to be close to the mountains, so every day, he scoured the Aspen Times classifieds for architecture positions. In 2000, he accepted a job at CCY Architects and has been there ever since. In 2017, he was promoted to principal.
“Now I can contribute to projects and in big ways to the strategic vision to the firm,” said Kennedy.
The mountain location and the variety of projects he works on have made it easy for Kennedy to spend almost two decades at CCY.
“We’ve got the advantage of having our high-end residential inform our commercial work, and vice versa,” he said. “I like to think about how we can design our custom residential projects in a pragmatic way and not just throw away money. But then in our commercial work, how can we consider detail, design and texture within a budget?”
In addition to design quality and budget, Kennedy is focused on another important issue: having a limited impact on the environment through design.
“We work hard to make things sustainable, but often, we’re designing second homes, so sometimes there are fundamental challenges. Within this context we do the best we can,” He explained. “We think about how CCY and every architect can approach work with an eye towards reducing environmental impacts.”
Another challenge Kennedy is acutely aware of is growth in Colorado, particularly in resort towns like Aspen. Like many architects, he is passionate about increasing affordable housing and rallying the community to embrace density, even in small mountain areas.
When he’s not working, Kennedy takes full advantage of his home’s mountain backdrop. He spends time hiking, skiing and camping with his son and wife. Sometimes, he wakes up early, skis a few runs and still gets to work by 8:30 a.m. Perhaps that’s the secret to award-winning architecture?