611 Cowpe Awarded Architectural Excellence / Hayes Group Architects

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Hayes Group Architects received a coveted Award for Architectural Excellence for 611 Cowper Street, a project commissioned by the real estate development and investment company R&M Properties.

The City of Palo Alto Architectural Review Board (ARB) selected 611 Cowper Street from more than 100 constructed projects that it recommends for approval, and which were completed between 2015-2020. The design awards are given out once every five years, and Hayes Group Architects’ project was one of only six selected.

“Palo Alto’s entitlement process is rigorous; the design community is held to the highest standards,” notes Hayes Group Architects founder, Ken Hayes, AIA. “Being recognized by the ARB, knowing how many projects they review in a five-year period, makes the award that much more special.”

Designed and completed in 2016 to CalGreen Tier 2 and LEED Silver standards, which comply with Palo Alto’s Green Building Ordinance, 611 Cowper is a 35,000 square foot, four-story structure that includes a two-story, below grade garage with car stackers, and three floors of commercial space topped by a full-floor residence. The project is particularly resonant for Hayes. “The building is located mid-block, next door to a 12-story residential complex, and down the street, red-tiled-roof Spanish colonial buildings,” he explains. The project’s design is therefore “contextually responsive” in form, color, and materiality in its use of glass, concrete, metal, and terra cotta.

For R&M Properties co-founder, Stephen Reller, the design award is “very rewarding”. The company bought the property in 2012 with a vision for a mixed-use development— its second and largest project at the time. “This was a big risk, big reward project. As a local, I now see it regularly, so I am proud of it. It’s a building that’s been thoughtfully designed, and I am happy for Hayes Group Architects to be recognized.”

For Hayes, whose firm has entitled, designed, and built more than 200 commercial projects in Palo Alto and in neighboring Menlo Park, downtowns are for live, work, and play. He hopes that other cities will rise to the challenge of supporting all three. As he puts it, “We could be looking at more mixed-use projects with housing and commercial intertwined, a new, post-pandemic work from home model. Vibrant, mixed-use buildings in our downtowns are essential for their continued success.”

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