35th Anniversary: Architecture

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Our “Passion for Progress” over the past 35 years is perhaps most-evident in the architecture of the homes we’ve built. We’ve been fortunate to work with amazing architects from across the country to develop thoughtful, livable, and timeless options for our new homebuyers. Denver architect, Bernie Costello of B. Costello Design & Consulting, has helped us develop countless home plans, including our some of our newest fan-favorites. We sat down with Bernie to learn more about his process, what it’s (really) like collaborating with Keller Homes, and why architecture styles aren’t necessarily trends. Here’s what he had to share.

From where do you draw inspiration? 

“I have always drawn inspiration from the vast history of architecture, travel and a constant study of the importance of context, scale, place-making and the integration of land planning and landscape.  I don’t see architecture as a style.  The use of scale, material and how light enters and forms the space is and always will be the guiding principles.  Architecture is of its time.”

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Are the architectural styles we see now just trends?  Will they stand the test of time?   

“I believe that the closer the architecture can be to capturing how we live in the modern world, the more successful it is.  While we hint at historic styles, and builders will use historic tags to market projects, if you look at any successful community, there is a dialog between the homes and its place.  Anything else is just wallpaper on a flat facade and we know how wallpaper fares.  

I personally believe that in the last 10 years or so the market has embraced honest modern architecture which is true to what it is.  Meaning that scale and context are used to guide a modern solution.  I also believe that modernism, with a capital M and mid-century modern design is still contemporary and cutting edge, and after after years of trying to run from it, the general public has embraced its wonder.  It-MCM- is a jumping off point that has a strong connection to the history of American Architecture.  I don’t see this as a trend, but as a seismic shift after the downturn of 2007-8.  We were no longer selling nostalgia to baby boomers alone.  The market shifted and the demographics became more urban, and the urban-light (more filling less dense) of many suburban communities ties in directly with the mid-mod heydays of the middle 20th century.  Also, the work we do in Colorado Springs has a heavy percentage of single level homes, which was created in the 1950-60’s in the form of modern architecture.”  

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What architectural styles do you think will continue to gain momentum and/or become popular in the future?  

“I believe that there will be a much stronger connection between land use and architecture as we move forward.  This will include a variety in low density residential housing in the form of paired homes, Accessory Dwelling Units (carriage homes), town homes as well as courtyards communities etc.  We will be seeing smaller lots in many cases and an emphasis on efficient land use, which puts us closer to the lifestyle we desire, be it hiking along Pikes Peak or being closer to our neighborhood amenities.  We will continue to see an Urbanization of our built environments, albeit with a desire for a haven, and a retreat from the daily grind, while having a connection to community.  There will always be a push for something “new”, however I think modern solutions will be embraced for the long haul.  The focus will be on simplifying and editing to allow for a richness of material use and texture and bringing the best possible livability to what the market dictates in the reality of affordability.  This will probably include zoning changes that allow for multi-generational living options, flexibility in income generating options for small rentals in our Air BNB reality, and a lock and leave mentality as travel and mobility become further desired.”  

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What areas does Keller Homes focus on when developing new plans? 

“I think the most successful projects have married the land plan to the architecture and the landscaping.  They have had a cohesiveness that eludes many other builders.  Within that cohesiveness is a focus on how to capture different lifestyle options within the variety of floor play designs and allowing for the massing to define the exterior elevations.  Livability is always at the forefront and probably THE guiding principle.  Design is always focused on a variety of livability, ease of furnishing and connection of indoor and outdoor living.  There is a direct relationship to the livability and the final form of the architecture.  I believe good architecture gives you a hint of what is going on inside while providing privacy and connecting you to mother nature.”    

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What is the collaboration process like with Keller Homes?  

“First off, I had and still have the luxury of being part of and learning from the vast experience of Keller Homes.  I believe that one needs to spend time understanding and embracing the mindset of the builder before you can make any lasting design progress.  It has always been a wonderful collaboration and constant refinement.   The fact that Keller embraces change and understands that as an independent home builder, design can be a very strong differentiator, is what makes them unique and a lot of fun to work with.  The collaboration is based on embracing the design and working through the details to bring it to reality.  You have to really love this process, which I do, and there is always a confidence that the building will be executed magnificently.”  


For more about our 35th Anniversary celebration, check out our first first and second blog posts in this series.  More to come!