History

H I S T O R Y
Our story is 50 years old and began with the inception of North America's largest ski resort.

Fitzhugh Scott, a Wisconsin architect, was one of the original "Vail Pioneers" - the small group of visionaries who developed Vail from a quiet valley populated in the summer by herds of sheep, into North America's largest ski resort. Gordon Pierce, the firm's founder, was a young architect in Fitz's Milwaukee office when he was selected to spearhead the firm's design efforts for the fledgling resort. In the months when Gordon was living in the small house that also served as an office for Vail Associates and a bunkhouse for visiting investors, there were many evenings when he was the only person in Vail - the workers having quit the day and headed home for Minturn, Red Cliff and farther down Valley.

From Fitzhugh Scott's simple napkin sketch of Bridge Street, the village took shape and as Vail grew in both size and importance, so did the number of architectural commissions. Eventually, Gordon opened his own practice and added branch offices in Denver and Boulder to complement his Vail staff.

Although the office's work in Vail increased exponentially, as the resort grew, it also won commissions for residential and hospitality projects outside the region. These included homes, hotels and condominiums in other ski areas, as well as warm weather resorts throughout the U.S. In 1980, Vail Associates expanded operations down the Valley and developed the Beaver Creek Ski Resort. Gordon was an integral member of the development team that master planned the core village. The Urban Land Institute issued an Award of Excellence in 1998 to the team for their work on the challenging development.

Gordon was also an early proponent of the fractional fee concept of real estate ownership and both designed and co-developed one the first such built projects: the Austria Haus Club and Hotel. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) bestowed its 1999 Gold Award for Resort Architecture to the firm for this groundbreaking project. In 1997, Gordon, with his son, Andre, established Resort Design Architects in San Francisco to focus on resort design projects in international destinations.

Today, Resort Design Architects is engaged in boutique projects around the world and continues to provide custom home design for a small number of clients in order to maintain a high level of personal attention to each project.