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The Great Divide
Pickard Chilton's design for a mixed-use tower in Denver references the Rocky Mountains.
Courtesy Pickard Chilton

Connecticut-based architecture firm Pickard Chilton has unveiled its design for 1144 Fifteenth, a 40-story mixed use tower set to rise in Denver. At 617 feet tall, the Hines-developed project will be the city’s fifth tallest building as well as its largest development of this sort in 30 years. Located in the lower downtown historic district on what is currently a parking lot between Arapahoe and Lawrence streets, the skyscraper takes its formal cues from the city’s Rocky Mountain backdrop.

Pickard Chilton principal architect Anthony Markese told AN that due to fluctuations in the economy it took twelve years to bring 1144, which is seeking a LEED Gold rating, out of its incubation phase. Denver’s post-recession boom finally opened up the need for more office and retail space, as well as strong new complement to the skyline.


The top 27 floors of the tower are dedicated to office space, while the bottom 13 floors comprise a podium that is programmed for retail, a fitness center, and a parking garage. The development team hopes that the mixed-use space will increase the project’s economic viability by catering to the urbane side of Denver’s residents, while invoking the city’s rustic roots. The design for the lobby is chic but earth toned, combining soaring ceilings with elements of natural stone and wood. The project also equally accommodates drivers and cyclists: the garage combines 880 car parking spaces with ample bike storage, while showers throughout the building are available for rinsing off after a sweaty commute.


To evoke the nearby Rocky Mountains, Pickard Chilton, which is working with local architect of record Kendall/Heaton Associates, designed two wedge-shaped vertical volumes that seem to fly past each other, creating a deep fissure down the building’s center. This cleft is meant to resemble two mountains coming together. The exterior, which is clad with a high performance insulated glass curtain wall, features floor-to-ceiling views of the nearby snow-capped peaks. From the outside, the reflectivity of the glass mirrors the deep blue skies of the high plains. As Markese described it, this interaction between nature and architecture makes the tower “fresh and modern and handsome.”

Markese said that the city’s administration is fully supportive of the project. It is slated to begin construction in May 2015 with expected completion in late 2017.

Elisia Guerena