City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of Denver

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City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of Denver
Series Title:
City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of Denver
Barnes-Gelt, Susan
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of Denver | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 12:36:07 PM] Home City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of DenverCity by Design: An Architectural Perspective of DenverSubmitted by jainlayconley on 12-1-2010 12:05 PMAuthor: Panache Partners Publishing: Plano, TX: Panache Partners, LLC, 2010. Color photos, illustrations, index. 283 pages. 12 x 9. $40.00 hardcover. Reviewer: Susan Barnes-Gelt Everything you need to know about City by Design is expressed on the glossy, fullcolor jacket cover of this coffee table trifle. A photo-shopped montage looking across Speer Boulevard to downtown features the back of Curt Fentresss mammoth, four-square-block-swallowing convention center set against an anonymous city skyline. The panorama is punctuated with a half-dozen skyscrapers and several indistinguishable 1970s urban-removal towers with neither people nor cars in sight. Corporate. Vanity press. Paid for, no doubt, by a preponderance of large, institutional local architecture shops. The book failseven as marchitecture (marketing architecture). Fifty-six projects are featured, including a chain restaurant designed by a Texas firm and located in the Orchard Town Center in Westminster (50). The unnamed author needs an editor, a map, or a trip to Denver. Determine the percentage each firm paid by counting the entries: Fentress 5, klipp 5, RNL 4, et cetera. One in a series that includes Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Texas (and what city is that?), the illustrations are glib, artificially lighted, and unpopulated. Even the venerable Civilian Conservation Corps Red Rocks Amphitheater looks as if its constructed of spamstone, rather than crafted of Colorado red sandstone. Adding insult to injury, no design credit is given to several important local projects. The Denver Performing Arts Complex, built over a century, is credited to Denvers pision of Theaters and Arenas. In fact, a legion of local and national designers are responsible for this civic asset: Robert O. Willison, Auditorium Theatre (1908); John Dinkeloo and Kevin Roche, original master plan; Muchow & Associates, galleria and parking garage (1977); Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, Boettcher Concert Hall (1978) and DCPA theaters (1979); Beyer Blinder Bell converted the old arena to the Temple Buell Theater (Colorados David Owen Tryba returned to Denver to lead this project for the New York firm); and Semple Brown Roberts for the remarkable transformation of the 1908 Auditorium Theatre into the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The conversion of Denvers abandoned 7.5-square-mile Stapleton Airport into a lively mixed-use, perse urban neighborhood ensured Denver would remain a lively center city. Spearheaded by visionary Colorado philanthropist Sam Gary, gifted planners and civic leaders worked for six years prior to the airports closing in 1995. Inspired by Garys vision, they set forth ambitious social, economic and environmental goals, codifying them in a comprehensive planning document, The Green Book City by Design s illustrations portray it as Pleasantville, Anywhere, USA. Browse through The Green Book then visit the neighborhood. Get a feel for how an enduring city EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.


City by Design: An Architectural Perspective of Denver | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 12:36:07 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us continues to reinvent itself. Denver is a city of neighborhoods and districts, defined by parks, parkways, dignified civic structures, and people-scaled places. Mediocre corporate architecture, look-at-me-narcissistic facades and greige institutional interiors dont comprise the texture of great or livable cities. The most memorable cities are places where the private realmbuildings, houses, landscape, and urban designform a safe and inviting backdrop for the public discoursesidewalks, livable streets, town squares, and public places. Architect Louis Kahn said it best: The street is a room of agreement. Great and livable cities are defined by how they livefor children, pedestrians, visitors, and the elderly. When a building neglects context, service to the public realm, and scale, the project fails. Cities that get it right understand how the bricks and sticks feed the heart and soul. City by Design Denver leaves the reader hungry. Reviewer Info: Susan Barnes-Gelt writes and speaks about smart growth, urban design, and politics and is a tireless advocate for design excellence and quality in the built environment. She is an opinion columnist for the Denver Post and jousts with former Colorado Senate President John Andrews on PBS Channel 12's daily broadcast, Head-On Barnes-Gelt served as Denver Councilwoman at-Large (1995) and was a member of Mayor Federico Peas staff (1987). She participates in a variety of civic activities. Add new comment