Denver Art Museum North Building Renovation

Denver, Colorado242,225 SF / 22,503 SMCompletion 2019

Since its inception in 1893, the Denver Art Museum has been an anchor in the cultural ecosystem of the western mountain region, and Denver, in particular. The Museum is reknown worldwide for both its collection and its architecture, which is often referred to as the most important piece of the Museum’s collection.

The Denver Art Museum is currently in the midst of a $150 million revitalization of the cherished 1971 North Building. Italian modernist architect Gio Ponti and local architect James Sudler teamed up to design the 210,000-square-foot building with distinct castle-like towers that are visible from vantage points throughout downtown Denver, and serve as home to a majority of the Museum’s collection.

A key component of the revitalization—timed to honor the 50th anniversary of the North Building—is the functional and iconic alignment of this building with its monumental neighbors: the titanium-clad, Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building; the Denver Central Library designed by Michael Graves; and the Clyfford Still Museum designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture.

In addition to revitalizing the North Building, Fentress Architects with Machado Silvetti are also replacing an adjoining structure with a new 50,000-square-foot welcome center. Together, the revitalization and addition will preserve the architectural heritage of the Ponti-towers and also provide essential building system upgrades, increase gallery flexibility, and enhance the visitor experience.

The new welcome center will significantly increase accessibility to the Museum from adjacent Civic Center Park and the Denver Public Library. It is also lined, as it extends back toward the Ponti towers, with an array of visitor amenities—ticketing, retail, a full restaurant, and café—that open onto outdoor terraces within the expanded and upgraded Acoma Plaza. The second level, which connects to both the Hamilton and North buildings, features a multi-use event space with beautifully framed views of adjacent buildings and the Rocky Mountains.