Following the closure of the Art Institute of Colorado building in late 2018 in Denver (alongside a host of other institutions now under the Dream Center Education Holdings umbrella), it was announced on September 30 that Nichols Partnership paid $15.25 million for the site with plans of transforming the property into as many as 155 micro-units. When asked about the reasoning behind the ten-story structure's conversion, Randy Nichols, one of the partners of Nichols Partnership, said that “this building just happens to work out perfectly in the depth of the floorplate, so that we can get small units in there and they’re not super long and thin.” The company believes that the apartments, all of which would range between 300 and 450 square feet, would become desirable given the building’s proximity to Denver’s city center and the Libeskind-designed Denver Art Museum. Nichols commented that developing micro-units “is a way to make an affordable place to stay for people who are priced out of this very expensive apartment market.” Whereas a typical studio apartment in the area might go for $1,500-to-$1,700 a month, Nichols Properties hopes to rent their micro-units for closer to $1,100-to-$1,200 a month. The Art Institute is the third building in the area repurposed for micro-units by Nichols Partnership, the other two being a former hotel near the Mile High Stadium now known as “Turntable Studios” and a former medical office building near City Park now named “Cruise.” “Doing conversions of beat-up, old unoccupied building is kind of becoming a specialty, I guess,” Nichols reflected. “It’s a really good way to mitigate the ridiculous cost of new construction.” The company hasn’t yet settled on a name or theme for the new development, but Nichols suggested that they may incorporate student artwork that was left on desks before the building was vacated. With a projected total price tag of $35 million, the renovation is anticipated to begin next year.
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CEDIA Expo is the event that’s making smart homes genius. More than 20,000 home tech pros and 500+ exhibitors convene for the leading event in connected technology. Receive concentrated access to new products, breakthrough innovations and targeted training in tech integration. CEDIA Expo 2019 will be held in Denver, CO at the Colorado Convention Center September 10-14, 2019.
Brought to you with support fromLike many cities across the United States, Denver is undergoing tremendous demographic growth with the subsequent result of intense development and densification. Jason Street Multifamily, designed by local architectural-firm Meridian 105, is a four-unit residential project located in the Sunnyside neighborhood that responds to the region's need for thoughtfully-designed and budget-restrained compact developments with a facade of salvaged stainless steel and cedar, and plaster. The development rises to a height of the three stories and is defined by jagged extrusions that house two-story solariums. The size of the homes range from approximately 1700- to- 2400 square feet. Cedar siding, treated with pine tar, wraps across the ground floor of the building, which is punctured along the south elevation by an arhythmic entrance collonade. Above the ground floor, the material palette shifts to stainless steel and matte-finished plaster. The plaster is subject to two treatments; one with Carrara marble dust for smooth surfacing, and a lime-and-sand aggregate for rougher segments. Although the steel will patinate and lose a degree of luster over time, the panels effectively mirror the plaster treatment within the concave surfaces of the extrusion, and shifts to a soft reflective glow during the evening. Due to budget constraints, Meridian 105 turned towards creative methods to reduce costs. "The stainless steel panels were available salvage from a local metals shop so we purchased them and design[ed] them into the project," said Merdian 105 founding principal Chad Mitchell. "The white Vero plaster was a product that we found at a conference in Las Vegas. We liked the smooth, glossy texture and thought it would be a good compliment to the metal surface." Salvaged raw materials form the basis of the project's facade system, which relied on straightforward assembly. The steel sheets roughly measure 5-by-10-feet and were installed to overlap along the vertical seam to reduce the costs associating with cutting the panels. The sheets hang on stainless steel standoffs which are in turn secured via blocking into the wall, and backed by VaproShield weatherproofing as a rainscreen. The use of glass is restrained and typically arranged in vertical and horizontal ribbons conforming to the internal function. However, according to Mitchell, "the glass towers that run on the edge of this feature were also difficult. We had to work with Western Aluminum to create a glass corner detail that worked with the custom angle." Meridian 105 Founding Principal Chad Mitchell will be joining the panel "Rocky Mountain Residential: Facade Design of Colorado Homes" at the Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Denver conference on September 12.
Brought to you with support fromThe Denver Art Museum is undergoing a significant expansion and overhaul led by design architect Machado Silvetti and architect-of-record Fentress Architects. The project includes the restoration of Gio Ponti’s glass tile-clad North Building and the construction of an entirely new, elliptical-shaped welcome center defined by a scalloped structural glass curtainwall. The site of the welcome center is not lacking in significant neighbors: Studio Libeskind’s expansion to the Denver Art Museum is located to the south, Michael Graves' addition to the Denver Central Library lies to the east, and Gio Ponti’s North Building to the northwest.
Denver Art Museum, "the primary objectives of the Denver Art Museum welcome center included creating a structure and spaces that would bring two very distinct, but disparate, buildings together to function as a true campus; to act as a counterbalance to the opaque, dense buildings we had built to house the artwork; and to serve as a beacon within the city that felt inviting and welcoming to all." A challenge for the design team was translating the civic ambitions of the client, and the cultural role of the museum within the region, into a facade strategy with a distinct identity that highlighted its surroundings without the visual hinderance of exposed fasteners and vertical mullions. For Machado Silvetti Principal Jeffry Burchard, “once this design concept was in place, the design team then went through many rounds of conversations with fabricators and installers in the process of realizing that full height curved IGUs, supported off of triple laminated glass fins connected to the second-floor cantilever was not only possible but the best and most efficient way to implement the concept.” In total, 52 glass panels enclose the welcome center. The panels have a universal width of 8 feet and a curve radius of 10 feet. Panel heights differ according to location; approximately two-thirds of the panels are 25-feet tall while those located along the clerestory are 5-feet tall. To install the panels—the majority of which weigh 3,200 pounds—the installation team relied on a suction cup lifter with articulated mounts that conformed to the curved surfaces of the panels. The panels were hoisted by a team of eight and mounted onto the custom-fabricated facade system. “Each curved glass unit is supported at the top and bottom by a curved stainless-steel angle. These angles are supported by custom stainless-steel fittings that attach to triple-laminated, low-iron glass fins using stainless-steel bolts through holes drilled in the glass fins,” said Fentress Architects Principal and Director of Technical Design Ned Kirschbaum. “The glass fins are in turn point‑supported top and bottom with stainless steel bolts through drilled holes in the glass fins and connected back to the building’s primary steel structure through custom stainless-steel fittings.” The $150-million project includes a significant overhaul of Gio Ponti's castellated North Building, also led by Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti. A significant component of the museum's overhaul is the repair of the building's facade, which is comprised of approximately one million glass tiles placed atop a concrete structure. Additionally, the design team will complete a roof terrace originally planed by Ponti but left incomplete due to budgetary constraints. Interior work includes a revamp of exhibition spaces as well as a new entrance. Denver Art Museum Deputy Director Andrea Kalivas Fulton, Machado Silvetti Principal Stephanie Randazzo Dwyer, and Fentress Architects Technical Design Director Ned Kirschbaum, will be joining the panel "Facade Strategies for Curatorial Institutions" at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Denver conference on September 12.According to Andrea Kalivas Fulton, Deputy Director of the
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.