Some highly anticipated news that residents and prospective visitors to Mile High City alike will enjoy this afternoon: The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has announced that its longstanding campus renovation and reunification project is valued at US $ 150 million -Dollar will fully open to the public on October 24, 2021. The first phase of the dramatic redesign on DAM’s Civic Center Park campus was scheduled to make its public debut last summer, but has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The project was first announced in 2016.
Led by Machado Silvetti, headquartered in Boston and Fentress Architects in Denver, the transformative overhaul, while delayed, is benefiting from a good timing: 2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Lanny and Sharon Martin Building (known as the North) until renaming in 2019), a modern jewel designed by the famous Italian architect Gio Ponti. The eight-story cast concrete structure rises above the Civic Center Park and is known to be clad with over a million faceted and flat glass tiles. It is Ponti’s only completed work in North America and was one of the museum’s first skyscrapers when it was completed in 1971.
A rooftop terrace in the Martin Building offers guests breathtaking views of the Denver cityscape flanked by mountains. (James Florio Photography / Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum)
The landmark of the Martin building is located in the center of the DAM campus renovation led by Machado Silvetti and Fentress and has been extensively and carefully restored and expanded inside. In particular, the museum’s immense collection, exhibited on seven floors of the 210,000-square-foot Martin building, has been reinstalled, and when the building reopens, new works will be exhibited in the renovated galleries for the first time.
As noted in a press release, museum guests will be “covered explorations of recognized works of architecture and design, Asian art, indigenous art from North America, the Northwest Coast and Alaska, Native and European art before 1900, Latin America and ancient American art, photography, textile art, and fashion and West American Art Departments ”, September 22.“ The redesigned galleries will highlight the highlights of the DAM collection as well as work open to the public for the first time, connecting and presenting the past with thoughtful reflections that emphasize overlooked narratives and emphasize a variety of voices including those of artists and members of the community. “
Detail of reflective glass tiles and new windows in the renovated Martin building. (James Florio Photography / Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum)
In addition, much of the first level of the Martin Building, previously used for the storage of art, is being reborn as the new 6,500-square-foot Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Gallery, a special exhibition space that displays works from the museum’s collections . The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Gallery opens with ReVisión: Art in the Américas, an exhibition featuring works from DAM’s Latin American art collection, one of the largest in the United States.
In total, more than 33,000 square feet of public space has been added to the base of the Martin building, including more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space in the western American art galleries on the seventh level, as well as an expansive rooftop terrace. A new pedestrian bridge will serve as a direct pedestrian link between the Martin Center and the neighboring Hamilton Building, designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind and opened with great success in 2006.
The renovated Martin building is an entirely new building, also designed by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects. the Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center. The 50,000 square meter Welcome Center was presented by AN in 2019 as a remarkable project by Facades + and has a distinctive elliptical shape and a scalloped structural glass facade. The Sie Welcome Center is to combine the Martin building with the Hamilton building and has spacious ticket and guest service areas as well as two new restaurants: one with a quick café and the other with seating under the direction of the James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski and described by DAM as an “immersive dining environment”.
The new subordinate conservation laboratory in the Sie Welcome Center with north-facing windows. (James Florio Photography / Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum)
On the upper level of the Sie Welcome Center is a winding, transparent event space called the Sturm Grand Pavilion. The pavilion covers an area of 10,000 square meters and offers a breathtaking view of the city and the mountains. It will serve as a unique new event space for Denver at night and a hub for family-oriented programming during the day. A special art conservation laboratory will be built on the lower level of the building.
As part of the campus redesign on the first and lower levels of the Martin building, the new Bartlit learning and engagement center was also implemented, which, according to DAM, has space for group and school receptions as well as classrooms together with Morgridge Creative Hub, the features Pollack Community Gallery and Wonderscape, a space dedicated to community-generated programs such as school exhibitions.
Revitalized entrance of the Gio Ponti subway to the Martin building, which is connected by a pedestrian bridge. (James Florio Photography / Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum)
“We look forward to welcoming our community to new, dynamic spaces this fall to explore art, world cultures and their own creativity,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Directors of DAM, in a statement. “For more than three years, the north side of our campus has been undergoing a bold change in order to improve the visitor experience while at the same time honoring and preserving the historic architecture of the building. The events of the past year have reaffirmed the importance of art as a source of inspiration, healing and hope. We look forward to presenting the museum’s global collections through a new lens and creating new spaces for learning and engaging with the reopening of the whole campus. “
A series of special events coincide with the public unveiling of the renovated Martin Building and the new Sie Welcome Center on October 24th, including a handful of member-only preview days leading to a full-day soirée on the opening day with free entry for all. More details will be announced in the coming months.
Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects in the core project team included Grundy Construction Management & Consulting of Colorado Springs (owner’s representative) and Saunders Construction, Inc. (general contractor) of Denver.