Extension to the Denver Art Museum

Extension to the Denver Art Museum, Denver - United States, Daniel Libeskind
Construction year: 2006
Address: 100, West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver | DENVER-COLORADO | United States | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 39.7354, -104.989

The Denver Art Museum extension has been added onto the existing museum, designed in 1971 by the Italian architect Gio Ponti. This new structure has been named after Frederic C. Hamilton and is the result of painstaking work by the team of architects, the director, the curators, staff, and the state. Although belonging to the same institution, the two museums are treated architecturally as two separate buildings linked by a glassed-in steel bridge built on this extension. It houses the collection of Modern and Contemporary American Art, as well as African Art and Design and Oceanic and Western Art. The extension was designed to revitalize this cultural center in Denver and to become, in a short space of time, an icon that would define it and mark it apart from other cities. The intention is to attract a large number of visitors, locals, and outsiders alike.

The building

The building has become the main entrance to the complex and inside is a passageway that leads to the stores, cafeteria and theatre. This link has a similar design to the previously existing museum, the civic center and the public library, in both function and aspect. It is thus a joint link with the city center and the civic center, establishing a strong connection with the city’s golden triangle. In short, the building is treated not as a separate building but as a component of a composition of public spaces, monuments and gateways into this part of the city that is constantly expanding.

The façade

With this spectacular façade, the team of architects aimed to reflect the growing development of the city, as well as its inspiration from the magnificent surrounding landscape, dominated by spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. This gives rise to a dialogue between a brave construction project and a romantic landscape, resulting in a space that is unique in the world. The choice of materials for this new building was governed by a desire to reflect by a desire to reflect the connection between tradition and modernity. Thus the local stone, granite, was used, together with new materials that are typical of 21th architecture, such as titanium. The building projects towards the north, and as it extends in that direction, the number of floors rises from two to four. Its original façade reminds one of the folds in a piece of Japanese origami, characterized by the multiple polygonal right angle features in granite and titanium. These right-angled elements are reminiscent of the nearby mountain peaks. Once again, as is common in the new architecture of this century, the assistance of computer software has been essential for the construction.

Special Features

The constantly changing light, the atmospheric effects and Denver’s own typical climate changes posed a big challenge in the construction of the building. The façade changes tones and appearance depending on the light from the sun and the visitor’s angle of vision. The main architectural feature is its integration and respect for the general public rather than a reflection of a spectacular exterior or interior. The building is a clear example of the urban dialogue between architecture and the public, which reflects the vitality and constant growth of this American city.

⇒ Architecture Guide to DENVER-COLORADO
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