BEST NEW INTERIOR IN AN OLD BUILDING (2006)
It sounds trite, especially since the analogy was repeated over and over during the construction process, but putting the Ellie Caulkins Opera House inside the historic Quigg Newton Auditorium really was like building a ship in a bottle. The auditorium -- a 1908 buff-colored brick building designed in a neoclassical style by Robert O. Willison -- had become run-down over the years and had long since lost its historic interior. In 2002, voters approved a bond initiative to pay for a renovation, and Denver's Semple Brown Design was hired to design it. Peter Lucking, the firm's principal in charge of the project, came up with a gorgeous, neo-modern interior that's all rich woods and shining glass and metal. Lucking made the best of an unimaginably difficult situation and gave this city a winner.