Posts tagged with "Denver Union Station":

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Nick Cecchi reflects on Doors Open Denver and the future of the city’s architecture and public design

Doors Open Denver turned 11 this spring with the Denver Architectural Foundation hosting the showcase of Denver architecture and design from the recently renovated Union Station. The event ran April 25th and 26th and included open houses at some of Denver’s most notable historic buildings, as well as tours and open doors at many local firms. The event was headquartered at, and highlighted by, the newly renovated Union Station, a Beaux Arts masterpiece that has become the anchor of a vibrant and rapidly growing transportation district. Union Station’s renovated interior, by JG Johnson Architects, serves to enliven and activate the historic space, with the detailing and character of the many shops and restaurants forming a pleasing juxtaposition with the carefully restored and accented historical interior. Behind historic Union Station sits a new commuter rail terminal, designed by the San Francisco office of SOM. The soaring steel and fabric form is not to be missed and its nimble execution and tectonic expression does an expert job of subtly referencing Denver International Airport’s architecture, the destination of commuter trains departing the terminal. Other historical buildings that were open for visitors included the Oxford Hotel, the Historic Sugar Building with its two original Otis cage elevators, and Hotel Teatro in the Tramway Building. Distinguished contemporary buildings included the newly renovated Nichols Building, the deftly executed Clyfford Still Museum, and both Gio Ponti (North Building) and Daniel Libeskind’s (Hamilton Building) contributions to the Denver Art Museum. The theme of this year’s event was “Denver Classics: Then and Now” which Brit Prost, chair of Doors Open Denver and a partner at Davis Partnership Architects, described as, “ [a] showcase [of] how innovative new public spaces are transforming the urban landscape while complementing historically beloved buildings.” While Union Station and other select renovation projects have greatly improved the urban core, the small number of new public buildings cannot nullify the overwhelming onslaught of faceless residential mid-rise and high-rise towers assaulting the city’s aesthetic character. Jeff Sheppard’s (of SheppardRoth Architects) recent invective against this bland and developer-driven architecture should give pause to anyone celebrating the recent increase in Denver’s architectural cachet. One only hopes that as the citizenry experiences and learns about the exceptional public spaces being developed in Denver, the public will begin to demand the same level of design and civic and spatial engagement in residential architecture. Indeed, it is the role of events like this to educate the public and other designers and artist to the role good design plays in urban living.
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Denver’s Union Station Elevates Rail Travel in Colorado

Denver’s Union Station, a multi-modal transit hub built by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, opened up last month. The ribbon cutting ceremony severed the notion that transportation hubs are drab, gray places that smell suspiciously of food products and cleaning chemicals. What does the Union Station Bus Concourse do differently? Everything, apparently. Its sweeping design acts as a converging point for local commuters, airport bound travelers, and out-of-city destinations. Spanning the Amtrak train tracks is an outdoor canopy built from white arch trusses. The half-moon structures swoop up to 77 feet in height before touching back down 120 feet away on the opposite side. The majestic arches offer shade and weather protection to the platforms below. The interior’s design brings in terrazzo floors, yellow glass tile work, skylights, and glass pavilions. Beyond the terminal's attention to design, the station marks a critical economic and environmental breakthrough for transit systems. "This project represents a major investment in transit-oriented development with extraordinarily far-reaching social and economic consequences," said SOM design partner Roger Duffy. "The bus concourse is the result of nearly a decade of thoughtful public consultation and bold design. Its completion helps realize this community's aspirations for a truly transformational neighborhood and landmark public project." Union Station has the capacity for 200,000 daily trips—a number that officials expect to hit by 2030. Designers hope it sets a precedent not just for transportation abilities, but acts as a beacon for other public transit structures nationwide.