ward + blake architects, jackson, wyo.

Bob Shervin has been county commissioner and mayor of Jackson, Wyo., so he knows firsthand how desperately the expensive resort area needs affordable housing. He also wanted to give his own gas station and tire shop an architectural face-lift, so he hired Mitchell T. Blake, AIA, to tackle both projects.

Shervin “dedicated three acres adjacent to his shop for a mixed-use building,” Blake says of the site, “but there was no landscaping—just asphalt.” Local zoning requires at least 25 percent landscaping for this type of project, so Blake came up with a plan to push the apartments back on one side, leaving room for rooftop gardens above the retail base. This configuration creates a cantilever on the opposite side, resulting in covered residential parking.

The solution impressed town planners enough that they permitted some flexibility on the landscaping percentage. They liked how Blake's design gives residents easy access to green space far removed from the busy streets below. Our jury respected his “intriguing solution” as well, noting that the project provides an environment of human scale amid the commercial buildings.

principal in charge / project architect: Mitchell T. Blake, AIA, Ward + Blake Architects
developer: Bob Shervin, Jackson
general contractor: Deon Heiner, Continental Construction Inc., Alpine, Wyo.
landscape architect: David Weaver, David Weaver & Associates, Idaho Falls, Idaho
project size: 18,862 square feet
site size: 1.66 acres
construction cost: $140 per square foot
rental price: $700 to $800 per unit per month
units in project: 20
photography: Lark Smothermon/WB Studios