Posts tagged with "Denver":

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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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Heading to Denver for ASLA? Stop by the AN Booth and Say Howdy!

1375803_10152800252102180_1861736163455110674_n Are you heading to the annual American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting in Denver? AN is! Stop by Booth #415, recharge your phone, fuel up on free coffee, and pick up a free copy of the paper at the AN Lounge with furniture provided by Fermob. AN executive editor Alan G. Brake will also be on hand and he would love to hear about your new projects. When you're not in the convention center, check out this selection of things to see and places to eat and drink by AN marketing partner Bison. We hope to see you in Denver! Denver-ASLA-infographic
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Biomimetic Pyramid by Burkett Design/Studio NYL

Plate tectonics, honeycombs inspire new Denver Botanic Gardens research center.

For their new Science Pyramid, the Denver Botanic Gardens sought a design that delivered more than just aesthetic impact. "They wanted an icon, but they also wanted to show an icon can be high performance," said Chris O'Hara, founding principal of Studio NYL. Studio NYL and its SKINS Group worked with architect Burkett Design and longtime Botanic Gardens general contractor GH Phipps to craft a structure to house the institution's conservation and research efforts. "People think of the Botanic Gardens as a beautiful place to go, but what most of them don't realize is what happens behind the scenes," said O'Hara. "The whole concept was to showcase that, and to educate the public not just about what the Botanic Gardens are doing, but a little more about their environment." Clad in a Swisspearl rain screen that serves as both roof and wall, the Science Pyramid's biomimetic design reconsiders the relationship between the built and natural worlds. Tasked with building a pyramidal structure with dynamic glass elements, the Burkett Design team turned to two natural metaphors. The first was the tectonic shifts that created Colorado's mountains, the second, the defensive structures built by honeybees. The geological metaphor influenced the building's form, a twisting, reaching variation on a pyramid designed to take full advantage of its site. The biological metaphor informed the building's skin, dominated by cement composite panels cut into honeycomb-like hexagons.
  • Facade Manufacturer Swisspearl (rain screen), View (glazing), Cosella-Dörken (weather and air barrier systems)
  • Architects Studio NYL's SKINS Group (facade designer), Burkett Design (architect)
  • Facade Installer NDF Construction (cladding), Alliance Glazing Technologies (glazing), Roadrunner Fabrication (perforated metal panels), United Materials (weather and air barriers)
  • Location Denver, CO
  • Date of Completion September 2014
  • System FRC rain screen roof and walls with electrochromic glazing and high performance insulation
  • Products Swisspearl rain screen, View dynamic glass, Cosella-Dörken weather and air barrier systems, Cascadia Clip fiberglass thermal spacers
Though they originally imagined a heavily glazed facade, Studio NYL soon realized that transparency would be impractical, given the projection elements involved in the Science Pyramid's exhibits. They opted instead for a rain screen system comprising custom-cut Swisspearl panels. The rain screen reduces thermal gain by venting hot air before it reaches the building. It encases the roof as well as the facade's vertical elements, the second such use of Swisspearl panels worldwide, and the first in the United States. "Here you don't hear about rain screen roofs often," said O'Hara. "Using the technology as a roof system was a little different." Because they still wanted some glass, Studio NYL incorporated electrochromic glazing from View. "They can tune the building—the user has a flip switch to black it out," explained O'Hara. "At the same time, you can have a visual connection to the gardens." To further boost performance, Studio NYL worked with Cosella-Dörkin to layer a UV resistant weather barrier system under the open joint rain screen. "Whereas the form was about this iconic, biomimetic structure, on a technical level, everything was about performance," said O'Hara. Fabrication and installation were complicated by two factors: a compressed timeline, and a need to work around the Botanic Gardens' ongoing operations. To help with the former, the Burkett Design team leaned heavily on digital fabrication, including having the structural steel digitally cut. As for the latter, the construction crew was forced to develop creative solutions to spatial restrictions. "There were a lot of logistical problems given that we were in the center of an active botanic garden," said O'Hara, noting that only machinery below a certain size could be brought to the site. "The primary axis we had could only go up twelve feet, to the extent that we were pushing tree branches out of the way with a broom." The design-build team came through in the end. "It's really quite spectacular," said O'Hara. But while the Science Pyramid achieves the landmark status the Botanic Gardens had hoped for, it nonetheless defers to its context—the gardens themselves. "The building is very oriented to the paths you take," said O'Hara. "Everything has a different moment. If you enter one way, you see the glass spine; if you come another, you see the canopy. It's playing constantly against the juxtaposed landscape."
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Letter to the Editor> Golden Age of Rail

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left at archpaper.com in reference to John Gendall’s feature article on multi-modal transit hubs (“The Golden Ticket” AN 07_08.06.2914_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The original design of all grand U.S. railroad stations fit the architectural design foundation “form follows function.” Unfortunately the years have not been kind to these railroad stations. Real estate developers have coveted the rail yard property for non-transportation development. In some cases these rail yards have yielded to interstates, highways, and streets. This has transformed the depot (waiting room, ticket offices, etc.) into just “a nice old building that used to serve the traveling public.” Denver is a prime example of a real estate grab. A beautifully designed rail yard gave way to developers interests. Look at the Google Maps satellite view. Transportation design was an obvious afterthought. The rail yard is stubbed, necessitating a time-consuming backup move for any train, namely Amtrak’s California Zephyr, using the original waiting room. Any future Front Range development will also require a backup. The light rail system is tucked away, far from the grand original structure. The wispy “Sidney-Opera-House-Denver” platform cover design is curious. It stands in stark contrast to the architectural elements of the original depot. A Google image search of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station does not reveal the austere feel purported in this article. What it may need is just a spit and polish rehabilitation. Those who want to remodel the structure seem to stand arrogantly. They claim the original designs were flawed and that somehow modern architects and planners can do a better job. So, will Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station become another depot from the grand era of passenger rail to fall to the modern architect? If the regal designs of the past are too ostentatious, then an entirely new depot should be constructed. The old should be left undisturbed until a new generation of architects discovers that their great grandfathers knew better how to design transportation facilities. Evan Stair Executive Director Passenger Rail Oklahoma
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ASLA announces winners of its 2014 Professional Awards and Student Awards

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced this year's winners of its Professional and Student Awards, which honor "top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning, communications and research projects from across the U.S. and around the world." Each of the winning projects will be featured in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and be officially presented by ASLA at its annual meeting and expo in Denver on November 24th. In total, 34 professional awards were selected out of 600 entries. General Design Category   Award of Excellence  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus Seattle Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Honor Awards Slow Down: Liupanshui Minghu Wetland Park Liupanshui, Ghizhou Province, China Turenscape Gebran Tueni Memorial Beirut, Lebanon Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture Segment 5, Hudson River Park  New York City Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Salem State University Marsh Hall, Salem, Mass. WagnerHodgson Landscape Architecture Urban Outfitters Headquarters Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia D.I.R.T. Studio Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Grand Teton National Park, WY Hershberger Design for D.R. Horne & Company Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park Queens, NY Thomas Balsley Associates and Weiss/Manfredi Low Maintenance Eco-Campus: Vanke Research Center Shenzhen, China Z+T Studio Shoemaker Green University of Pennsylvania Andropogon Associates, Ltd.   Residential Design Category Award of Excellence Woodland Rain Gardens Caddo Parish, La. Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects Honor Awards Hill Country Prospect Centerport, Texas Studio Outside for Sara Story Design Vineyard Retreat Napa Valley, Calif. Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture Le Petit Chalet Southwest Harbor, Maine Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC Sky Garden Miami Beach, Fla. Raymond Jungles Inc. West Texas Ranch Marfa, Texas Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. GM House, Bragança Paulista São Paulo, Brazil Alex Hanazaki Paisagismo City House in a Garden Chicago McKay Landscape Architects   Analysis & Planning Category Award of Excellence Midtown Detroit Techtown District Detroit Sasaki Associates Inc. Honor Awards The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock Little Rock, Ark. The University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect Devastation to Resilience: The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Houston Design Workshop Inc., Aspen, and Reed/Hilderbrand Zidell Yards District-Scale Green Infrastructure Scenarios Portland, Ore. GreenWorks, PC Yerba Buena Street Life Plan San Francisco CMG Landscape Architecture Unified Ground: Union Square - National Mall Competition Washington, D.C. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Communications Category Award of Excellence The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley The Cultural Landscape Foundation Honor Awards Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers James Richards, FASLA, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. Monk's Garden: A Visual Record of Design Thinking and Landscape Making Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Garden, Park, Community, Farm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Lands Louise A. Mozingo, ASLA, published by MIT Press   The Landmark Award Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square Boston Halvorson Design Partnership Inc.
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Video> “Oh Heck Yeah” turns downtown Denver into a communal video arcade

Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District's giant LED screens. Players controlled the games' characters with their body movements and had the opportunity to interact with them via Twitter profiles backed by local improv comedy group Bovine Metropolis. In addition to the games, Oh Heck Yeah's business and institutional sponsors put on a variety of "fun" happenings, such as karaoke, live music, dancing, and street theater. According to Brian Corrigan, the purpose of Oh Heck Yeah was to "use the power of play to connect people on the street." Connecting people, he said, makes the street safer and the city more "resilient," which has replaced sustainability as everyone's favorite buzzword. In its two months of operation, Oh Heck Yeah attracted 40,000 players and garnered Denver its fair share of national media attention.
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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.
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Allied Works and Arup Find Common Ground in SketchUp

Fabrikator

Allied Works communicates with project collaborators Arup Daylighting via SketchUp plugins.

When Joe Esch, Brad Schell, and a small group of AEC and CAD industry veterans launched SketchUp nearly 13 years ago in Boulder, Colorado, many of the 3D modeling tools on the market had been developed for the entertainment industry. Google acquired the company in 2006, and Trimble bought it in 2012, yet in spite of these changes in ownership, the team has continued to develop SketchUp into an intuitive design-build program to develop sketches and 3D models for the AEC industry. With its user-accessible Ruby API (application programming interface), the generic modeling program of yesteryear has become a full-blown, application specific design tool capable of detailing architectural projects faster and cheaper than in the past. In addition to the program’s capabilities that facilitate 2D drawings and 3D models, the latest release of the software—SketchUp Pro 2013—includes a categorized selection of plugins organized within the new Extension Warehouse. According to John Bacus, product management director at Trimble for SketchUp, a study conducted several years ago revealed 45 percent of SketchUp users had used plugins, but without an organized search and retrieval system those benefits were underutilized. “There was some chaos in that world, with people writing extensions that didn’t perform particularly well,” said Bacus. A team of developers has worked to compile and format 167 extensions that have been downloaded more than 200,000 times since its release less than two months ago.
  • Fabricators Sunders Construction
  • Designers Allied Works
  • Location Denver
  • Date of Completion 2010
  • Material concrete, structural steel
  • Process SketchUp, Maxwell Render, site casting
Portland, Oregon–based Allied Works Architecture has embraced these specialized plugin capabilities. The firm relies heavily on SketchUp’s modeling capabilities, in addition to a regular cache of plugins. Brent Linden, director of Allied Works’ New York office, noted how the flow of programming through the buildings they design is easily made the focus within SketchUp. “Since the design process of the Clyfford Still Museum, we’ve moved away from rectilinear into curvilinear,” said Linden. “When you add curves to rectilinear order, space can continue to flow through structure and the Curviloft lofting tool made that possible for our whole team.” The extension was instrumental in developing the perforated concrete ceiling, one of the museum’s most distinguished features. Lessons learned in lighting design from the Clyfford Still Museum have also been applied to the firm’s work on the Spaulding Paolozzi Center, a new project currently underway for joint use by Clemson University and the College of Charleston. For both projects, Arup provided daylighting consulting services. “We’re trading SketchUp models of individual perforations and the span of a wall so the amount of daylight being mitigated is where we want it to be,” said Linden. “Arup first gave us a CAD file, we made a 3D model in SketchUp, and now we’re communicating through that program.” In addition to the capabilities of distinct extensions, Linden praised SketchUp for its wide adaptability across his entire team and the speed at which it can be learned. Even as new people come into the Allied Works office and introduce a host of different modeling tools, they can all find common ground in SketchUp. “On the fly, sitting as a team and walking through a 3D model, we can push and pull walls or edges, and change the way the form looks inside and out. Its speed has lent it to being an iterative design form in our process.”
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Denver Explores the City With “Draft Urbanism” Exposition

The Biennial of the Americas’ 2013 exposition Draft Urbanism, headed by Colorado-based curator Cortney Stell, has rounded up the most engaging art, architecture, and film dialogues from across the Americas to turn Denver into a enormous fair. The exposition kicked off last week on July 16. Now through September 2, four full-scale architecture exhibitions will tackle important urban matters throughout downtown, where new and existing billboards, posters, and other urban signage are used to exhibit art. The public is encouraged to stop by each work and to thereby transform the city itself into a living, urban museum. The title, Draft Urbanism, refers to Denver’s reputation for craft brewing and the fact that the city is continuously transforming. In an attempt to confront the conventional idea of a biennial, which is generally limited to art and architecture, the curatorial team has incorporated speeches and panels normally coupled with conferences or symposiums. Architectural installations include:
  • Mine Pavilion by Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Larimer St & Speer Blvd), a display involving several building types that render it a billboard to drivers but a tunnel to pedestrians.
  • The Hotel Rehearsal by Alex Schweder (1535 Welton St), an installation depicting the automobile as an icon of suburban sprawl and the elevator as an icon of urban density.
  • Skyline Cloud by plan:b arquitectos (Skyline Park between 15th & 18th Sts), a collection of matching shade structures in Skyline Park, a notoriously vacant space in spite of its central location.
  • The Mirror Stages by June14 (16th St Mall between Cleveland & Court), a project surrounded by distinct socioeconomic and ethnic populations that forms a shared identity through butterflies.
Check out full descriptions and the complete list of installations, billboards, and urban signage.
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Product> Finds from the Floor at AIA 2013 Expo

Between keynote sessions, awards presentations, and interviews at the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) National 2013 Convention, AN's editors joined 20,000 attending architects in the search for the newest and most innovative products on the floor of the Colorado Convention Center's exposition hall. Following are a few notable discoveries. SureClad Porcelain Stone Crossville The Tennessee-based supplier of interior ceramics has partnered with Shackerley, a British manufacturer of porcelain ventilated facade systems, for an exterior cladding solution that meets U.S. building codes, including all seismic and hurricane standards. The system (pictured above) is supported by an aluminum frame and is delivered to job sites as a prefabricated system to ensure fast and efficient installation. SunGuard Neutral 78/65 Guardian Industries Developed to passively retain heat in colder climates, Neutral 78/65's low-E coating facilitates high visible light and a neutral color. It can be used in double- or triple-glazed units and can also be combined with any of SunGuard's other low-E coatings. AA5450 Series OptiQ Window Kawneer The new series in the OptiQ line of windows maintains thermal continuity and reduces energy transmission in both single and double hung constructions thanks to a polyamide thermal break. The 4-and-5/8-inch aluminum frame maintains a minimal profile and can be outfitted with 1-inch double pane or 1-and-1/2-inch triple pane insulated glass. OptiQ Windows are also available with expanded configurations. Benchmark Facade Systems Kingspan A fully integrated line of ventilated exterior cladding debuted at AIA 2013 and is now available from Kingspan. The company supplies a complete system of metal rails, insulated panels with a Bayer-developed polyurethane, and fastening solutions. The cladding is available in aluminum composite material (ACM), metal composite material (MCM), plate, high pressure laminate (HPL), ceramic granite, terra cotta, and thin brick, and comes in a broad range of colors. YUW 750 XTH Unitized Wall System YKK Hurricane and impact mitigating glazing for low- to mid-rise commercial buildings can be applied to multi-span curtain and single-span ribbon walls with YKK's latest addition to its ProTek portfolio. The new wall system can be specified with visible exterior face covers, a four-sided structural silicone glaze, or in a combination of both. It also boasts U-factors as low as .30.
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QUICK CLICKS> Bike Lite, Convenient Cities, London Smog, Choco-design

Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night.  The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action. Convenient Cities. What makes a city "convenient"? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity.  Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top. Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu'Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu'Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes' performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.
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Quick Clicks> Wren, Denver, Pike, & Livability

Wren's Dome. Some 300 years ago, Christopher Wren completed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Now with today's modern icons transforming the city's skyline, the Telegraph pays homage to his lasting landmark amongst the new "Shards, Gherkins and distorted walkie-talkie-shaped skyscrapers." Green Mile High. The Editor-at-Large brings news that the USGBC has named Denver the "greenest" city in the United States with about 230 LEED registered or certified buildings. Two have earned LEED Platinum since 2010. Pike Park. StreetsBlog reports that construction has begun on permanent Pike Street pedestrian improvements to be completed this fall in Manhattan. The project replaces temporary materials DOT installed in 2009 to calm traffic along Pike and Allen streets. Shut Out. Reuter's has the list of the world's most (and least) livable cities ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Vancouver topped the list (Harare, Zimbabwe came in last). No city in the United States managed to break into the top ten.