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American lovers of both fashion and architecture can get their fix in one hit this winter. OMA has designed an exhibition now open at the Denver Art Museum chronicling the history of French fashion house Dior. From Paris to the World winds a sinuous path through a floor of the angular Daniel Libeskind–designed building, "as a nod to Christian Dior’s obsession for his Granville garden," and the meandering path that runs through it, according to a statement from OMA. The path takes visitors through a timeline of the label's work, and its history with various high profile designers, including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and its current creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. OMA designed the exhibition to conceptually bridge Dior's clothing with Libeskind's building. The design is built around aluminum surfaces, a reference to the museum's titanium cladding, but the metal in the exhibition comes in curvilinear forms that relate to the flowing couture garments on display. The aluminum begins as a wavy backdrop for the displays that wend through Anschutz Gallery where the metal takes a variety of treatments to match the evolution of the clothing line over time. In the Martin and McCormick Gallery, the metal is used in a series of petal-shaped pedestals that create a valley-like space that displays the fashion house's global inspirations. Dior: From Paris to the World is on display now through March 3 at the Denver Art Museum.
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"How does a little building for decorative arts hold its own next to big icons?" asked Jim Olson, Partner at Olson Kundig. This was the challenge that the Seattle-based architects were tasked with when they took on a project to design a new space for Denver's Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. The project site sits in the shadows of two major civic projects from Daniel Libeskind and Michael Graves: the Denver Art Museum, and Denver Central Library respectively.
Olson said that when starting the project, he had been experimenting with wood detailing in his personal cabin and looking at various combinations of glossy and matte finishes. This spirit of experimentation rubbed off on the Kirkland Museum, which brings together a variety of glazed terracotta baguettes and decorative glass backed with gold leaf. "While the layout and elevations of the building are calm and simple, the materials cladding the exterior are full of energy," wrote Olson in a letter to the museum explaining the vision. "At the entry, hand-crafted amber glass fins will further enliven the facade. My hope is that the building itself will be considered a ‘piece’ in the collection." The project started with a desire to create a controlled gallery-style lighting environment and a protective space for the art objects housed within the museum, with the building envelope assuming an opaque character. The architects pulled from a range of yellow and gold hues inspired by the environmental conditions of Denver, which receives three hundred days of sunshine per year, and "energizing" color palettes pulled from Vance Kirkland paintings. The facade is a relatively conventional rainscreen system composed of wall connections, girts, and clips from NBK Terracotta. The system was customized by the architects and collaborator John Lewis Glass, who developed custom decorative glass inserts. Introducing custom material into NBK's rainscreen assembly was a collaborative process, requiring coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, installers, and contractors. The facade's composition achieves a randomized effect through the deft manipulation of patterns. Two approximately four-foot-wide modules were first developed to achieve a seemingly random order. These units were distributed across the facade and overlaid with two additional patterning effects that were applied in a mirrored fashion. Ultimately this produced a variable arrangement across baguette widths, depths, heights, and colors to produce a dynamic texture. Bryan Berkas, an architect at Olson Kundig, said the compositional system provided a useful way to document and communicate the facade components for the shop drawing process, and for overall quality control. "We could look at the four foot, nine inch module closely to make sure we were getting an even distribution of color, [and] a range of joint lines to ensure there wasn't too much alignment." The facade is capped by large roof overhangs, producing deep soffits. The soffits, almost always in shadow, are clad in deep bronze anodized metal panels that allow the roof to visually recede from the vibrant facade. The cladding is arranged in a unique herringbone pattern at the corners, developed by the metal panel manufacturer and installer through a series of mockups. A key feature in the project is a sculpture by artist Bob Vangold acquired by the museum during construction. The architects scanned the artwork and positioned the object onto the facade, bridging a continuous horizontal roof edge. The piece is anchored to the facade with base plates. Water collection and durability were carefully evaluated by the owner, structural engineer, and architect. "Terracotta hasn't necessarily been on the radar in our office, so learning about new facade materials has been a great outcome of this project. It's a very intriguing material," said Crystal Coleman, Associate at Olson Kundig. "For us, it's a very vibrant and durable material."
The new Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art opens tomorrow, March 10, in Denver’s growing museum district. “I wanted Kirkland Museum to play off its neighbors–international icons like the Denver Art Museum building by Daniel Libeskind and the Clyfford Still Museum by Allied Works–while continuing my larger architectural philosophy of always trying to create a greater unified whole. For example, the vertical grooves of the Clyfford Still Museum influenced the vertical random character of the facade tiles on Kirkland Museum,” said architect Jim Olson of Olson Kundig. However, Olson saw the neighboring buildings’ neutral facades as an opportunity to make the Kirkland shine, quite literally. Clad in striking yellow terra-cotta bars by NBK and gold painted glass tiles by John Lewis Glass, the 38,500-square-foot museum truly lives up to the museum district’s moniker, the Golden Triangle. The Kirkland Museum contains approximately 30,000 works from Colorado artists, as well as the International Decorative Art Collection, which is comprised of over 20,0000 objects. It is named for Vance Kirkland, a seminal 20th century Denver-based painter known for his surreal and abstract works. The collections were originally housed in Kirkland’s former educational space and studio. Part of the construction challenge involved relocating the Vance Kirkland Studio, built in 1911, from its location downtown on Pearl Street to the new building about one mile away. “It was the soul of the whole project,” Olson said. “Rather than trying to blend the new, modern building with the old, we decided to let them just stand side by side, each its unique self. I thought of the buildings as two artifacts in the decorative arts collection. We broke down the scale of the new building into smaller segments, which helped bring the old building into the total composition.” This layout approach also helped Olson achieve the client’s directive of making museum visitors feel as though “they are visiting a grand residence filled with art and beautiful objects;” more like a salon and less like a formal museum. Olson maintained the density and scale of the original Kirkland studio throughout the new space, but created an easy-to-navigate floor plan with a central promenade and color-coded wayfinding throughout the galleries. He extended this inviting ambiance to the street through a series of windows and art-filled vitrines on the building’s exterior, allowing pedestrians to get a glimpse of the collections inside, as well as the outdoor sculptures. “The horizontal overhangs on the building help to create a more human, residential scale,” Olson explained. “The glass facade tiles are handmade, and the colored glass fins near the entry are also crafted by hand. The bronze-colored entry door has a steel and wood handle. We tried to relate to craft and human touch wherever we could. We wanted the building to feel personal and finely crafted, like the collections it contains.” For more information on the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, visit the museum’s website.
2017 Best of Design Award for Hospitality: Broken Rice Architect: Undisclosable Location: Denver, Colorado Broken Rice is a fast-casual restaurant serving traditional Asian street food with a modern feel. It was designed as a roll-out with recognizable brand identity and efficiency in construction that would also produce experiential quality. Inspired by Asian landscapes, colors, and textures, Broken Rice adopts the hexagonal geometry of Vietnamese tiles, recognizable silhouettes from the region, and repetitive objects seen in Asian street markets—visible through screens lining both sides of the space. The effect is that of looking out onto an abstract vista of cultural references. The use of color, inspired by the sunset, is deployed throughout to create false perspectives, produce depth in the space, and facilitate intimate dining conditions within the banquette cubbies. “The congruous nature of the ambitions and the execution makes the small restaurant quite special. The warm material selection and element lighting is fun and approachable.” —Emily Bauer, landscape architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Client: Startup Restaurant Interior Architecture: Undisclosable Architect of Record: Nama Partners Structural Engineering: Performance Engineering Honorable Mention Project: Wilshire Grand Tower Complex Architect: AC Martin Place: Los Angeles, California The Wilshire Grand Tower Complex comprises a 900-room hotel sitting atop 18 office floors. Currently the tallest building west of the Mississippi, it offers sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and is an iconic addition to the skyline.
Following the recent opening of Stantec Architecture’s first Wrigley Field-adjacent development in Chicago, the firm’s Colorado office is following suit with the announcement of a mixed-use project next to Denver’s Coors Field that will take up an entire city block. Because the West Lot project is aiming to better integrate the Coors Stadium into lower downtown Denver as well as supplement the stadium’s offerings, the project will be developed and paid for by the Colorado Rockies. Representing the last open parcel of land in downtown Denver adjacent to Coors Stadium, West Lot will occupy a full block between 19th and Wazee street, and directly connect to the stadium across the street. Referencing the way that arenas direct viewers’ attention to a centralized event, the project will use what Stantec refers to as a ground-level “context plaza” to both anchor the surroundings and offer amphitheater-style seating to the public. The landscaped courtyard will also thread through and connect the three buildings that curve around it. “The plaza is designed as a pre- and post-game gathering place for Rockies fans, complete with unique restaurants and state of the art audio and visual systems,” said Larry Weeks, principal at Stantec. The buildings on the three-acre site are a mix of glass and brick and include a double-height glass sky bridge complete with amenity space on top, with plans to project ongoing games on its underside. Other than the plaza, West Lot will hold an unspecified amount of hospitality, office, residential, retail, entertainment, and concessions space, in addition to a new Colorado Rockies Hall of Fame facility. Similar to the Wrigley Field developments, visitors will be able to seamlessly move between the stadium and the adjoining public space. “Beyond baseball, the plaza will serve as Denver’s ‘outdoor room,’ a year-round space that can accommodate neighborhood concerts, festivals and other activities,” said Daniel Aizenman, senior principal at Stantec. Currently undergoing the first steps of a government review, construction on the project is expected to begin in the second half of 2018, with no estimated completion date available.
High-speed transport is no longer a myth of the future. Yesterday, Los Angeles-based hyperloop engineering company, Arrivo, announced its partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation to build a test track facility in the Denver Metro area. The company aims to break ground on the test site in early 2018 and plans to have a fully operating public transportation system in place by 2021. The Arrivo transportation concept consists of creating a network of roadways which will shuffle cars, people, and freight on platforms traveling at speeds of 200 miles per hour. That is, not just pods, but individual private vehicles can take advantage of the roadways. The system will rely on individual autonomous platforms being propelled by electric power and magnetic levitation within a road-side track. Unlike the Hyperloop concept forwarded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, cars will not travel in a near-vacuum state through low-pressure tubes, although a tube will be put in place to cut the wind resistance. This plan removes the need to build an expensive tubeway system on pylons or underground. Arrivo's agenda will be focused on local, short-distance commutes as well, unlike Hyperloop One's long-distance proposals. Speculative routes plan to link popular locations such as downtown Denver to the international airport on the outskirts of the city, as well as linking Denver's city center to Boulder's city center. Through Arrivo's transportation network, both these trips, which currently take about an hour by traditional highway travel, would be decreased to commute times of under 10 minutes. Denver is a natural fit for a high-speed travel test facility. In recent years, Colorado has been among the nation's fastest-growing states, with the population influx putting a strain on infrastructure and plaguing cities with traffic. A 360-mile loop in the state, with Denver as one of the nodes, was also selected in the Hyperloop One global challenge. In the upcoming year, Arrivo plans to invest $10 to $15 million into the test track and engineering technology centers throughout the region.
A proposed 90-story mixed-use residential tower by international architect Carlos Ott—in partnership with Crown Architecture, Davis Partnership Architects, and New York City–based developer Greenwich Realty Capital—has the potential to become the tallest tower in Denver. The project is dubbed Six Fifty 17 and would contain 284 high-end condominiums, a hotel, and 22,000 square feet of retail space. The podium style structure would also feature a 13-story parking garage containing 500 stalls and retail spaces along its lower levels. Renderings for the project depict a faceted, blue-glass-clad tower topped by a sculptural crown. The tower’s upper levels feature offset and cantilevered planted terraces while the roof of the podium structure will offer an amenity level for hotel guests. If built as currently planned, the spire would rise 1,000 feet high, dwarfing the city’s current height leader—the Republic Plaza tower, a gridded, 54-story office tower designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in 1984, which rises 714 feet. Under these metrics, the tower would also become the 19th tallest in the United States overall, according to a recent USA Today report. The project, first reported by The Metropolitan, the student newspaper at Metropolitan State University of Denver, comes amid a flurry of new construction across the Denver area, especially high-rise and affordable housing construction. Even so, it is unclear whether the project is really in the works or not. The Denver Post reports that the city’s planning department does not consider the tower “an active project right now,” though the agency is ready to review plans for the proposal once submitted. Adding to the confusion, a 42-page document posted to an Issuu site maintained by Crown Architecture shows an 800-foot-tall, 85-story high structure accompanying the same renderings as those showcased on the project website. For now, however, the tower remains an idea. The next few months will tell how real those plans might become. The team behind the project hopes to break ground on the project in 2018. See the project website for more information.
Denver, Colorado–based affordable housing developers Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) and Medici Consulting Group (MCG) recently revealed plans to move forward on a project that aims to establish a transit-oriented development at the heart of the city’s booming River North Art District (RiNo) neighborhood. The so-called Walnut Street Lofts—an architect for the project has not been announced—would bring 65 affordable housing units pegged for residents making between 30- and 60-percent of the area’s median income. When the development comes online in 2019, it is expected to provide affordable rents, with one-bedroom units going for roughly $400 per month and three-bedroom apartments running up to $1,200 per month. The 1.5-acre site for the project was purchased by ULC in 2011 as part of the developer’s long-term land-banking strategy, which entails purchasing cheap land in gentrifying Denver neighborhoods as a means of embedding affordable housing in growing areas. When the non-profit acquired the Walnut Street Lofts parcel in 2011, for example, the lot came out to a sale price of about $30 per square foot, a bargain considering a site nearby recently sold for roughly $200 per square foot, the Denver Post reports. For the project, ULC sold the development rights to the land to MCG but will retain ownership of the land via an automatically-renewing 99-year ground lease. The complex, according to a rendering released by the developers, features simple, rectilinear massing with punched openings with operable window assemblies. The complex will also feature ground floor retail spaces and is laid out with a central courtyard. The project will benefit from funding provided by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, which awarded Medici $1,198,115 in low-income housing tax credits to help finance the estimated $17 million project. The project also received funding from Colorado-based development firm McWinney, which chipped in $1.5 million in funding as part of a deal to win a density bonus for a development located on a nearby parcel. The Walnut Street Lofts are expected to break ground in late 2018 and will be completed in 2019.
Denver may get a stand-alone Department of Transportation and Mobility, joining other major American cities like Seattle, Oakland, and Pittsburgh, in an announcement by the city’s mayor Michael Hancock earlier this month. Right now, the city’s transportation decisions are managed by the Department of Public Works, the agency that also manages the sewer system, trash removal, and water quality. In response to “worsening congestion and safety and limited mobility options,” Hancock ordered a restructuring of Denver Public Works with the ultimate goal of a Cabinet-level transportation department, according to the press release. “Restructuring Denver Public Works to elevate transportation and mobility—now one of the highest priorities for the people of Denver—and then creating a new Department of Transportation and Mobility, will advance our ability to move more people, more efficiently and more safely,” the mayor said in the release. According to The Denver Post, it will take voter approval of an amendment to the city charter before the department can be created. While this could take a while, all transportation and mobility-related planning in the Public Works will be consolidated into a new mobility subdivision for now.
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has just received a major standalone financial gift in support of revitalizing the museum’s North Building. The iconic Gio Ponti-designed North Building will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 with $150 million in expanded galleries, site upgrades, and expanded resources for youth programs. The $25 million gift came from Museum Board Chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife, Sharon Martin. When upgrades are complete the North Building will bear their name in honor of their gift. “The North Building is considered one of the most significant objects in the Museum’s collection, and our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring it into the 21st century,” said Lanny Martin at a ceremony announcing the gift. “The Denver Art Museum is a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region and it is critical that we continue to invest in it for the benefit of the entire community.” The North building is the only Gio Ponti building in North America and was designed in collaboration with Denver-based James Sudler Associates in 1971. The improvements to the building will include bringing the public to a seventh-story observation area, part of the original design that was never realized. A new welcome center will also unify the museum campus, which also includes a wing designed by Danial Libeskind. The project was master planned by Tryba Architects in 2015. Formal designs have been led by Denver-based Fentress Architects with Boston-based Machado Silvetti Architects. The plan is to complete the upgrades and additions to the museum by 2021.
Brought to you with support fromA 23-acre public botanical garden in Denver—which contains North America's largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world—has received a new science center inspired by biomimicry, technology, and the landscape. The project was a highly collaborative output from Burkett Design and StudioNYL. The appropriately titled “Science Pyramid” began formally as an inversion of an adjacent depressed triangulated amphitheater. The triangulated structure was initially planned as a self-supporting structural shell of honeycomb-shaped glass units, inspired by beehive structures. With a desire to control lighting for multimedia displays, the design evolved to an opaque shell with fiber cement panels, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and electrochromic glass panels. Ben Niamthet, Associate Principal at Burkett Design, says the building was formally split into two halves, shearing down the middle of the pyramid to provide an opportunity for guests to locate themselves within the landscape of the gardens, and affording views to an adjacent historic fountain. The gap was clad with custom-made electrochromic panels that operate in coordination with rooftop light monitoring system to control daylight in the exhibition space below. Niamthet attributes this feature as one of the most successful aspects of the project. "It created a challenge, he said. "Not just an aesthetic challenge, but a structural engineering challenge." Niamthet said this challenge was met by a highly collaborative design process with StudioNYL's Skins Group—a team of facade designing structural engineers. The facade construction doubles as both a wall and a roof, and is technically understood as an open joint roof-mounted rainscreen system. The unique assembly is one of the first of it's kind in the world. A primary steel structure of 18" diameter HSS tubes provide the basis for a layer of plywood sheathing that forms the building's iconic tent-like structure. A secondary layer of structural thermal isolator standoffs set at 2-feet-on-center support for two layers of rigid insulation totaling 5-inches. This outboard insulation layer is protected by a gypsum cover board and a UV-resistant moisture barrier. A tertiary layer of cladding subframing systems provides standoffs for the final layer of hexagonal-shaped fiber cement panels. Will Babbington, principal at StudioNYL, calls the project one of the most iconic projects the facade engineering firm has completed: "The nice thing with all of these layers affords the tolerance that is required for what ended up being a very fast tracked project." To manage increased UV exposure from a slanted rooftop orientation, Cosella-Dörken's DELTA®-FASSADE S product was specified because of its properties as a highly stabilized material against damage from UV exposure. The product is designed for use in cladding systems that have open joints of up to 2-inches wide which expose up to 40-percent of the entire facade surface. Marrying the hexagonal grid with the buildings pyramidal form produced inherent alignment challenges for the design team. Babbington recounts, "we rotated that pattern well into the double digits... maybe even triple digits... [at] times trying to find a way to minimize tiny slivers of fiber cement board which were too small for standard fastening methods." StudioNYL says the greatest challenge associated from detailing a rainscreen on a sloped surface is the reduction of a natural "stack effect" ventilation—a performance requirement of typical open joint rainscreens. Babbington said the problem required research into fluid dynamics which accounted for specific environmental factors of the system. A digital model was able to conclude that the gap between the fiber cement panels and the exterior wall construction heats up enough to provide an efficient upward airflow. This—despite the slope of the pyramid's walls—promoted a passive method for circulating air in the manner rainscreens are designed to perform. The fluid dynamics model specifically accounted for solar orientation of the facade surfaces, local climate data, and the dark coloration of the Swisspearl panels. The project team is awaiting data from this high-performance building to evaluate the efficiency of the Science Pyramid's construction assemblies and systems, which have now been in operation for almost two years.