September 01, 1997

Ascot Park Designs Capture Honors

By Jerome Obermark
– The Commercial Appeal –

Looney Ricks Kiss has won two Aurora Awards in the annual competition sponsored by the Southeast Building Conference.

The winners were selected from almost 300 entries for projects in the 10-state Southeastern region.

Two architects from the firm Michael Medick and Paige Close accepted the awards at a recent awards dinner at the Orlando Peabody Hotel. The Southeast Building Conference honors builders, developers, architects and planners for designs of distinction.

One of Looney Ricks Kiss’s Aurora Award winners for "Best in State-Tennessee" is for Ascot Park, a luxury homes project in East Memphis. The other Aurora Award is for the design of an apartment property in Duluth, GA.

Ascot Park, an upscale development within The Cloisters of River Oaks subdivision in East Memphis, won in the category of speculatively built, detached single-family homes priced from $501,000 to $1 million.

Brad Shapiro, project architect for the first three homes in Ascot Park, credited builder Russell Kostka and other design team members Carson Looney, principal in charge, and David Kenoyer, project manager.

"We were very pleased to receive these awards," Shapiro said. "Russell Kostka did an excellent job of executing the (Ascot Park) plans well. Typically, you don’t see that quality of house except on a one-on-one custom basis."

Ascot Park has three homes completed and sold. When fully developed, it will have 16 luxury homes on smaller lots. Ascot Park homes are part of the larger development, The Cloisters, which will have 65 custom and speculatively built homes. Work is under way on about eight custom homes there.

The Cloisters homes are taking shape on 40 acres formerly owned by Wilda and James H. ‘Herbo’ Humphreys. The development is behind a gated entry marked with a stone wall entrance. It is located off Shady Grove Road at Sweetbriar, behind Baptist Hospital East in East Memphis.

The three homes in the initial phase of Ascot Park sold in a range of $775,000 to $800,000, Kostka said. He started two other speculatively built homes there in March.

Kostka is a partner in The Cloister development with Boyle Investment Co., primarily a land development partner.

The Aurora Award was the second award won by Looney Ricks Kiss for its design work at The Cloisters. In December, the Memphis-based architectural firm won a merit award in the 17th annual Builder’s Choice Design & Planning Awards national competition for a home built by Kostka in The Cloisters.

"It is a privilege to work on that development. I’m very proud of it," Kostka said.

Lots in Ascot Park have about 12,000 to 13,000 square feet, and are smaller and narrower than others within The Cloisters. The home designs must be approved by an architectural review committee and must adhere to historically based architectural design guidelines.

Looney Ricks Kiss’s other Aurora Award winner was for Jefferson Ridge Apartment community in Duluth, GA. It won in the category of rental apartment communities of less than 15 units per acre.

The design follows a country gentlemen’s estate theme. All buildings resemble historic structures.

The 424-unit Jefferson Ridge Apartment community is on 46 acres. The leasing center contains a model unit, resident club room with billiards and grill and a business and conference center.

The fitness center, which has the image of a renovated stable or barn, contains a racquetball court, strength training and cardiovascular area, sports bar and locker rooms.

Looney Ricks Kiss is an architecture, interior design and planning firm with offices in Memphis, Nashville and Princeton, NJ. With staff of more than 125, it is the largest architectural and commercial interiors firm in Memphis.