As you approach Denver Colorado you are struck with amazing views of the city’s skyline. Traveling into the interior of the city, you can’t help but to notice some of the unique buildings architectural designs. Denver much like other American cities has a hodgepodge of history attached to its creation and the building of infrastructures. What was once almost completely unsettled prior to the 1850s quickly saw huge influxes of settlers chasing the Gold Rush to this region by 1859. Since that time and with funds from the railroads and that of wealthy gold and coal miners, Denver was built up from a small mining supply depot to the modern marvel it is today. I recently took a trip to Downtown Denver and was amazed by the mix of old and new, modern and traditional, and the contemporary and abstract architecture that makes up Denver Colorado.
Some of the more traditional architecture in Denver can be seen in buildings like the Brown Palace Hotel, Colorado State Capital Building, and the Molly Brown House. The Brown Palace was built from red granite and sandstone in 1892 by architect Frank Edbrooke. He also designed the State Capitol building which features tons of Mexican onyx, cast-iron grillwork, and a fabulous stained-glass ceiling. The restored beauty of the famous Molly Brown House is also a major landmark in Denver. This home was made from Colorado rhyolite and was completed with a sandstone trim. These buildings are among some of the first architectural treasures in Denver.
The first skyscrapers erected in Denver were the Equitable Building built in 1892 and the Daniels & Fisher Tower constructed in 1910. It wasn’t until the early 1970s when Denver skyline truly erupted with the large building movement that swept our nations cities. Twenty-one of Denver’s twenty-seven tallest skyscrapers were built during this period. The Republic Plaza Building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and is made from reinforced concrete and Sardinian granite. This building boasts the tallest height in the entire Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The Wells Fargo Center which is also called the “cash register” building because of its design was created by architect Philip Johnson. This building is the most recognizable characteristic of Denver’s skyline and features a heated roofing system which prevents snow from building up on the curved roof.
More recent large building developments in Denver have produced buildings like the Colorado Convention Center and the Denver Art Museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building. In 2004, the Colorado Convention Center got a $340 million makeover that expanded the building to an enormous 2.2 million gross square feet. Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, and RIBA of Fentress Architects designed the Colorado Convention Center along with phase two of the expansion. The Frederic C. Hamilton building consists of a collection of complex geometrical shapes, 20 sloping planes, and 230,000 square feet of titanium shingles. Conjured up by Architect Daniel Libeskind, this building defeats gravity and is the home of Denver’s Modern and Contemporary Art collection.
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