Proposals to re-envision portion of Mason Street due July 29

Note to Reporters: A high-resolution graphic is available at

There are only about three weeks left to submit a proposal for improving Mason Street between Mulberry and Laurel streets in Fort Collins as part of the “Off the Rails” design competition being held by the UniverCity Urban Lab.

Submissions for the contest, which targets the two-block stretch of Mason from sidewalk to sidewalk, excluding the railroad easement, will be accepted until July 29.

The UniverCity Urban Lab — a partnership among Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment, the City of Fort Collins, the Downtown Development Authority, professionals and citizens — advocates for high-quality urban design and a livable city through community involvement and collaboration. It is challenging architects, artists, urban planners, designers, students and others to submit their ideas to enhance the area for all users, whether traveling by car, bus, bicycle or foot.

Cash prizes of $3,000, $1,500 and $500 will be awarded for the top designs in the three-stage competition, which was launched this spring. Initially, six of the eligible submissions will be selected by a semifinal jury of esteemed community members:

• Nina Bodenhamer – Nina Bodenhamer Communication Consultancy
• Kevin Brinkman – President and co-founder, Brinkman Partners
• Gino Campana – District 3 city councilmember and founder/president, Bellisimo Inc.
• Kristina Cash – Community matchmaker and social entrepreneur, Fortified Collaborations
• Laurie Davis – Principal, Davis Davis Architects
• Nick Dunaske – Director, Make-Culture
• Cameron Gloss – Planning manager, City of Fort Collins
• Wynne Odell – CEO, Odell Brewing Company
• Bevin Parker – Downtown Development Authority Board chair and president, Maximum Painting LLC
• Craig Russell – Principal, Russell + Mills Studios

Three winners will be selected from those six finalists by a distinguished panel of judges that includes Hansy Better Barraza, associate professor in the Rhode Island School of Design and principal of Studio Luz Architects; Ed Goodman of Fort Collins design studio Spiral Experiences; Walter Hood, professor of the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and creative director of Hood Design Studio; and Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.

A finalist exhibition and award announcement will take place at Galvanize Fort Collins this fall, with final jury deliberations and prize conferral on October’s First Friday Art Walk (Oct. 7).

Entry fees for teams or individuals are $75 for professionals and $25 for students. The competition aims to inspire bold and visionary design possibilities that create a unique and memorable experience for residents and visitors to the area.

The Urban Lab hosted a series of open houses from 2013 to 2015 seeking public input regarding concerns over the Mason Street Downtown Corridor. Those who submit designs are asked to address the areas identified by citizens during those forums:

• Lack of pedestrian safety and priority
• Pollution (e.g. noise, litter, exhaust)
• Confusion of shared road responsibilities for multi-modal users
• Lack of local cultural features
• Lack of engagement with natural systems
• Aesthetics
• Need for messaging in the corridor
• Sense of division between the east and west sides of the street

In addition to these citizen concerns, entrants are encouraged to consider the following criteria:

• Pedestrian, bicycle, automobile and MAX working in harmony
• Improved wayfinding
• Generate a holistic, healthy and regenerative living environment
• Create a memorable character and identity for the Mason Street Downtown Corridor
• Celebrate and re-interpret this unique legacy from the early days of Fort Collins
• Create an urban environment that is ecologically sustainable, socially inclusive and economically vibrant

For more information or to register, visit

The Institute for the Built Environment is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.