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Archive of posts filed under the General Urbanism category.

Doors Open Denver Preview: Bennett Wagner Architects Studio

This structure was built in 1915, thereby celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year. Over its life, the building has served various retail and warehouse purposes. In 2000, the building was renovated, subdivided, and condominiumized. The first floor was purchased by Martha Bennett, Linda Wagner, and Don Grody for their Architecture Studio: Bennett Wagner Grody Architects.

Here is an image of the Bennett Wagner Architects Studio, courtesy of Doors Open Denver.


This building was one of the first board-formed cast-in-place concrete buildings constructed in Denver. It  is supported by 25’ chamfered and flared concrete columns, with concrete floor slabs and edge beams in-filled with thick masonry walls. The open studio environment invites human interaction, which is essential to the office’s team approach to design. The conference room is the only enclosed space in the studio. An interesting fact is that  the library space within the studio was furnished with wood recycled from the Library of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This building preview is part of DenverUrbanism’s special countdown series to Doors Open Denver 2015. Click here for more information on Doors Open Denver.

Doors Open Denver Preview: Balfour at Riverfront Park

Balfour at Riverfront Park is a master planned, senior living community with a 17-acre park on one side and downtown Denver on the other. The building is an elegant retirement community designed by Robert A.M. Stern, which broke ground in April 2013 and opened in late 2014. It consists of 205 independent living, assisted living, and memory care/Alzheimer’s apartment homes based on the concept of continuum of care. This allows residents to maintain relationships with friends and staff through every level without having to leave the Balfour community, although its proximity to several of Denver’s attractions and amenities allow many opportunities for socializing and entertainment.

Here is an image of the Balfour at Riverfront Park and the historic Moffat Depot, courtesy of Doors Open Denver.


Within Balfour are three restaurants, as well as a spa, pool and fitness center. Balfour at Riverfront Park is built around one of Denver’s last two remaining historic train terminals, Moffat Depot. The Moffat Depot was the Denver terminus of the Denver Northwestern and Pacific Railroad. It represents the work of Denver Architect Edwin Moorman and provides an example of predominantly Georgian revival Architecture. The renovated Moffat Depot is now Balfour’s community room.

This building preview is part of DenverUrbanism’s special countdown series to Doors Open Denver 2015. Click here for more information on Doors Open Denver.

Doors Open Denver Preview: The Alliance Center

Commonly known as the world’s first historic building to feature multiple LEED designations, the Kennicott-Patterson Transfer and Storage building, also known as the Otero building and currently, the Alliance Center, was built in 1908. It was originally used as a warehouse, and various commercial features and elements have been retained, such as the original loading docks and rail spurs. Gates Rubber took over the building from Merchant Transfer and Storage in 1933, and Morey Mercantile utilized the space until 1956.

Occupied by miscellaneous businesses throughout the 1960s, the building sat dormant from 1975 until 1983 when it was acquired and underwent a major conversion to office space. In 1990, the Tattered Cover Bookstore purchased the building and also leased space to other tenants, such as the Wynkoop Brewing Company, originally founded by current Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. In 2004, the building was acquired by the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado to create the Alliance Center, a showcase and outreach center promoting sustainability and the reuse of historic structures. The Center has been termed Colorado’s “Hub of Sustainability”.

Here is an image of the Alliance Center building, courtesy of Doors Open Denver.


Another round of renovations followed, including updates to major energy efficiency and high-performance systems to deliver sustainable, collaborative office and meeting space for the community. The 2004-2005 conversion was a collaboration between many architects and green building experts, culminating in a structure that juxtaposes original posts and beams with wall insulation made from old blue jeans. Some of the resource efficiency upgrades that earned the Alliance Center LEED Gold, LEED Silver, and Energy Star Leader certifications are water-saving fixtures and bike racks and showers that encourage employees to bike to work.

During 2014, the Alliance Center underwent yet more renovation, this time by Gensler Architects, Fitzmartin Consulting, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in pursuit of LEED Platinum certification. The result is original Douglas Fir wood beams, posts and rafters and historic brick alongside newly renovated, modern open office design and interiors. More specifically, the energy, water, and waste systems are ultra-efficient, lighting systems are master-controlled LED fixtures, and the building is compartmentalized into multiple energy zones so heating and cooling resources are directed only where and when required. Impressively, approximately 75% of construction waste was diverted back into the transformed building, with old office doors repurposed as ramps and windows. This renovation of the building also was for the purpose of doubling its occupancy (and extending tenancy to for-profits as well), allowing for daylight to reach every room in the building, creating advanced technological systems for collaboration tools and HVAC system integration with the meeting room reservation system, and allowing for the “hub of sustainability” to thrive, mobilize and grow. The technology, efficiency upgrades and workplace design of the building increases innovation, collaboration and improves human productivity.

The Alliance Center is a global sustainable building model where people from around the world can visit to learn and understand best practices in building sustainability and human productivity. From design to construction and through operations, the Alliance Center provides an ideal working environment that maximizes the principles of sustainability. The Alliance Center’s event space is available for rent to organizations and businesses in all sectors. The Alliance Center is a global sustainable building model where people from around the world can visit to learn and understand best practices in building sustainability and human productivity.

This building preview is part of DenverUrbanism’s special countdown series to Doors Open Denver 2015. Click here for more information on Doors Open Denver.

Doors Open Denver Preview: 16M

Recently completed in December of 2014, 16M is a Gensler-designed 10-story/340,000 square-foot LEED Certified mixed-use building situated on the southeast corner of 16th and Market streets in Lower Downtown Denver, the site of the former Office Depot. This building contains 115,000 square feet of Class AA office space over six stories, along with 13,000 square feet of retail (including ground floor and prime restaurant space). Structurally set back from the lower portion are four stories dedicated to the residences, a total of 47 units of for-rent luxury apartments on the floors seven through ten. 16M also has three levels of below grade parking with a tucked away garage ramp.

Here is an image of the 16M building, courtesy of Doors Open Denver.


Innovative strategies led the design away from a replica type LoDo building and toward a modern building that pays homage to the neighborhood through the use of brick and highly refined details. The premier corner of 16th and Market is activated by the dynamic relationship between the primary (16th Street) and secondary (Market Street) facades. The rhythmical window openings are inspired by the form and scale of historic LoDo expressed through tailored material selections and innovative details.

16M was an important contribution to LoDo not only on account of its attractive overall design and valuable mixed-use space, but also because of its good street presence and interaction with urban pedestrians (the old Office Depot featured only a single entrance along 16th St and a monolithic half-block long brick wall along Market St). 16M caters to the vibrant live-work atmosphere of Denver, Colorado.

This building preview is part of DenverUrbanism’s special countdown series to Doors Open Denver 2015. Click here for more information on Doors Open Denver.

Doors Open Denver Preview: Denver Union Station

Denver Union Station serves as the 2015 headquarters for Doors Open Denver! The Station first opened in May 1881 as a central station combining four different rail operations, and was completed in 1914. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and serves as a centerpiece in the heart of downtown Denver as a multi-modal transportation hub, catalyst for transit-oriented private development, entertainment and social destination, and a historic architectural gem.

The two wing buildings (flanking the larger central structure) were built during different periods in its history. The original wings were built alongside the 1881 structure in a Romanesque Revival style, featuring tall, narrow windows, rusticated stonework, and motifs of columbines, Colorado’s state flower. The station was gutted by fire in 1894, and the facades of the wing buildings were incorporated into a renovation in 1914. The wings originally functioned as offices and other station facilities, and today house the Crawford Hotel, restaurants, and retailers. The central 1914 portion of the station contains the Great Hall, designed in the Beaux-Arts style and featuring elements such as multi-story arched windows and bays, terrazzo floors, a barrel vault spanning the entire width of the Great Hall, two exterior clocks, a metal canopy along the elevation of the structure, and other classical elements. Architectural detailing is evident on the station’s exterior facade, while the Great Hall (although its aesthetic adornments are comparatively simpler) has been designed to offer a highly pleasing and comfortable atmosphere for travelers and locals to relax, socialize, and enjoy themselves today.

Here is an image of the Denver Union Station Building, courtesy of Doors Open Denver:


Also not to be missed are the 2000+ columbines that were hand carved around the windows and Great Hall, the historical floor and original tile, the ticket windows which now outline the Terminal Bar and the Great Hall ceiling, which was coated in a new high-tech acoustical technology, to reduce the echo in the historical building. Union Station also features art curated specifically from Colorado artists.

In total, the Denver Union Station, today, includes the historic terminal building, a train shed canopy, a 22-gate underground bus facility, and a light rail station. In 2012, it underwent a major redevelopment as the centerpiece of a new mixed-use development, and re-opened in 2014 with the addition of the Crawford Hotel, several restaurants and retailers, and a train hall, which stands immediately behind the historic building and houses tracks for Amtrak and future commuter rail lines (debuting in 2016). The underground bus terminal, accessible via multiple pavilions and replete with skylights to provide natural lighting, stretches west for two blocks along 17th Street and terminates at an above-ground light rail station. Transportation modalities are tied together above ground by various public spaces, plazas, and landscape elements

The Station’s restaurants and retailers include 10 exciting restaurants and three compelling retail outlets. The Great Hall of the station features a beer garden, ample seating and shuffle board tables as well as quick serve options MilkBox Ice Creamery, PigTrain Coffee, ACME Burger and Brat Corp., and Fresh eXchange wraps and salads. The Terminal Bar serves 30 Colorado craft beers and upstairs on the Union Station mezzanine is The Cooper Lounge, set as an above-ground, exclusive speakeasy. In the north and south wings of the historic building is the 112-room Crawford Hotel, ranked one of the top 101 new hotels around the world to be visited, as well as four Colorado-based restaurants: Mercantile Dining & Provision, Snooze an A.M. Eatery, Stoic & Genuine and The Kitchen Next Door. The previously mentioned retail selections include the popular Colorado bookstore Tattered Cover, as well as BLOOM and 5 green boxes offering gifts and accessories. Union Station hosts Amtrak, light rail, RTD and other passengers on a daily basis and in 2016, the light rail from DIA will connect Denver to the world.

This building preview is part of DenverUrbanism’s special countdown series to Doors Open Denver 2015. Click here for more information on Doors Open Denver.