Sage Building, YesPleaseMore! and Heirloom Gardens among 2010 Mayor's Design Awards

How many cities can boast an annual city-wide contest honoring the most kick-ass building designs? Denver can, thanks to its six-year-old Mayor's Design Awards, which recognizes achievement in new architecture and urban reclamation alike. And judging from this year's 11 winners, who'll be feted tonight at 6 p.m. in the Mercury Café, 2199 California St., the awards are getting more avant-garde by the year.

This year's winning line-up, listed below, includes a few big-name architectural achievements such as the renovated Sage Building on the 16th Street mall, whose transformation from one of the most blighted locales in downtown was chronicled in the 2007 Westword feature "Evan Almighty." But there are also more esoteric winners.

Take Heirloom Gardens, the upstart neighborhood-supported agriculture program that transforms yards in northwest Denver into farm plots, providing its members with the most local, fresh produce imaginable. Everyone already recognized that turning yards into farms is good move from a local-food perspective, but now, thanks to the Mayor's Design Awards, folks are saying its also beautiful landscape design.

Check out the full list for Denver's top new designs. Think something is missing -- or demand an aesthetic recount? Weigh in via the comments section below.

The 2010 Mayor's Design Awards recipients

Category: The Past Is Present Sage Building, 15th & Welton Streets Mackstaller Residence, 2530 W. 34th Avenue

Category: Reclaimed Splendor The Center, 1301 E. Colfax Avenue Denver Children's Advocacy Center, 2149 Federal Boulevard

Category: Home Is Where The Art Is YesPleaseMore!, 500 16th Street, Suite #234 Domo, 1356 Osage

Category: Many Shades of Green Heirloom Gardens, multiple locations in Northwest Denver

Category: Buildings That Beckon Cherry Creek Medical Building, 255 Detroit Street

Oh, Pioneers! Crema Coffee House, 2862 Larimer Street Fuel Café, 3455 Ringsby Court Architectural Workshop, 280 S. Pennsylvania Street

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner