LIFe imitates ART

At the Mile High City's revitalised cultural district you can do more than just look at art, you can live, learn and relax
A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch aerospace engineering, aircraft, airplane, architecture, aviation, sky, tourist attraction, teal
A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch is based around the titanium-cald addition to bthe Denver Art Museum. Museum Residences and soon to be built luxury hotel are also part of the plan to promote urban and cultural regeneration

IF WE WERE inclined to unashamedly mangle a cliche, which we are, we would say that for a fortunate few in Denver, home is where the art is. And that art is not just inside the home although there's little doubt that the aficionados who have bought into the city's new Museum Residences probably own a piece or two but next door.

There, the Denver Art Museum and its surrounds have been transformed. Previously, the solitary building on site was a Gio Ponti-designed, 28-sided, seven-level structure. Now, it's partnered by the Daniel Libeskind-designed Frederic C Hamilton Building aptly described by New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger as an "eruption of rhomboids".

Libeskind says the shape of the building came to him as he was flying over the Rocky Mountains. The bold, titanium-clad extension increases the museum's available space by 40%, providing room for travelling exhibitions, and galleries to showcase the museum's permanent collections, including modern and contemporary, western American, African and Oceanic art.

The extension is, however, just one part of a plan to develop Denver's cultural heart. That heart now includes the new Frederic C Hamilton Building, parks, paving and public spaces, and the simply named Museum Residences which brings us back to those for whom home is where the art is.

A joint venture between Studio Daniel Libeskind and Davis Partnership Architects in Denver, the Museum Residences wrap around two sides of a 980-car public parking garage. Out of a total of seven floors, the top six are residential, leaving 1486.4m² of space on the ground floor for retail further enhancing the vitality at street level. There are 56 luxury units that range from 75m² studios to 465m² penthouse suites.


A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch angle, architecture, building, cloud, daylighting, daytime, facade, house, line, roof, sky, structure, wall, window, wood, gray, black
A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch is based around the titanium-cald addition to bthe Denver Art Museum. Museum Residences and soon to be built luxury hotel are also part of the plan to promote urban and cultural regeneration

Designed to defer to the neighbouring structure, the Museum Residences are undoubtedly the work of the same architect. Angled geometry and broad expanses of metallics and coated glass mirror the architecture directly across the plaza. Like the museum, Libeskind's penchant for complex geometry is expressed in the residences but perhaps to a lesser degree. The exterior's glass-and-zinc facade features numerous trapezoidal injections, while the apartment interiors are non-standard. However, as opposed to the museum interior, which features many slanted walls, the apartment walls are mostly perpendicular to the ground.

"The museum and the residences are very different, but they are also complementary," says Libeskind.

"The museum is clad in titanium, whereas the residences are clad in zinc. The residences feature a high proportion of glass, and it is the soft qualities of the translucent glass skin, combined with the metal-clad geometric forms, that provide an elegant partner to the museum addition next door."

From various perspectives the apartments feature views of the Gio Ponti's original Denver Art Museum, Libeskind's expansion, and the Michael Graves-designed Denver Public Library.

Denver's cultural master plan doesn't just cater for the creation of civic and residential structures. The fabric which sews the entire space together is the space between the museum and the residences.

A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch architecture, condominium, daylighting, door, glass, house, interior design, property, real estate, window, gray
A view of Devers new Cultural Centre witch is based around the titanium-cald addition to bthe Denver Art Museum. Museum Residences and soon to be built luxury hotel are also part of the plan to promote urban and cultural regeneration

"The vision of the Denver Art Museum Master Plan is to weave these cultural, civic, and urban elements into a dynamic spatial configuration," says the architect.

"Like a piazza, the open space is key element of the civic experience. The continuity of the ground plane through parks and paving, public entrances, building profiles, sculpture and trees, water and lighting, streets and urban connections brings together the individual members of the urban composition in a significant civic purpose; a place for people to meet, learn, celebrate, relax, communicate and enjoy."

Libeskind believes that developers are embracing more sophisticated apartment design, and sees the trend continuing.

"Around the world, my studio is designing more and more condominiums, and they are one of my favourite things to design they are all about heart and life."

Apr 27, 2007

Credit list

Principal architect
Daniel Libeskind, Studio Libeskind
Building area
11,834m2
Main contractor
MilenderWhite Construction
Floors
Hardwood
Ovens, gas cooktops and dishwashers
Bosch
Countertops and backsplash
Stainless steel
Glass mosaic tiles and porcelain tiles
Hakati
Project architects
Arne Emerson, Stefan Blach
Developer
Mile High Development (MHD) Corporex
Cladding
Rheinzink; glass curtain wall
Cabinetry
Berloni
Sinks
Undermount stainless steel by Franke
Plumbing fixtures
Toto; Kohler
Bath tubs
Kohler Infinity 6-foot
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