Guide to Denver Architecture | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/guide-denver-architecture[12/7/2015 3:41:39 PM] Home Guide to Denver ArchitectureGuide to Denver ArchitectureSubmitted by nwharton on 1-19-2014 05:24 PMAuthor: Mary Voelz Chandler Publishing: Golden, Co., Fulcrum Publishing, 2nd edition, 2013 Reviewer: Stephen J. Leonard Reviewer Affiliation: History Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver Blurbs on the backs of books often promise more on the outside than can be found inside. One wonders if Mary Voelz Chandlers second edition of Guide to Denver Architecture, sponsored by the Denver Architectural Foundation, can live up to its cover boast that it is arguably the most comprehensive, portable source of information on Denvers built environment. Without question the answer is yes. The 352-page book, handsomely produced by Fulcrum Publishing, is portable. More importantly, it is a splendid guide to Denvers architecture, making it worthy of shelf space with the other major books on the citys buildings, including Richard R. Brettells, Historic Denver: The Architects and the Architecture, 1858 Thomas J. Noel and Barbara S. Norgrens, Denver: The City Beautiful and Its Architects, 1893 and Michael Paglia, Diane Wray, and Rodd Wheatons Denver: The Modern City Do not dispose of the 2001 first edition of the Guide when you put the second edition on the shelf. Some entries in the first edition have been dropped from the second and the photographs in the first edition are a feast. In the introduction to the new Guide, architect Dennis R. Humphries discusses the selection process that eliminated dull structures and many others which lack architectural significance despite their historic importance. No doubt some readers will disagree with some choices and others will wish for a thousand more entries. Such an impractical approach, however, would have made the Guide prohibitively expensive and hardly portable. Other contributors to the preliminary material include architects Alan Golin Gass and Jim Bershof, both of whom comment on factors which shaped their careers. Chandlers introduction provides a perceptive overview of the Denver architecture and preservation scene by an observer who for many years covered the art and architecture scene for the Rocky Mountain News Adding official frosting to this rich clair, Governor John Hickenlooper tells of his pleasure in sharing the treasures of our great city with people across the globe. The Guides main section is divided into twenty-seven chapters, most focusing on Denver neighborhoods. Somesuch as the various subdivisions of downtownhave dozens of entries; otherssuch as the Montclair residential neighborhoodhave fewer than fifteen. Maps pinpoint the location of each building, many of which are accorded a small photo. Chandler gives the buildings construction date, its architect, and notes any awards it may have won. She comments on the architecture and often throws in some 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 AmericanWithin Colorado boundaries are lands once claimed by Spanish kings and Mexican governors.
Guide to Denver Architecture | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/guide-denver-architecture[12/7/2015 3:41:39 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us history. She also rewards meritorious architects by giving them the recognition they deserve for enriching our lives with worthy, environmentally friendly buildings. The back cover blurb indicates that the Guide by singling out examples of both well-designed and problematic buildingsstrives to help people see what is goodand sometimes not so good. On that score, the Guide also succeeds. Although it concentrates on the good, it occasionally mentions the not so good. Comments are usually balanced and polite, but sometimes readers are rewarded when Chandler unleashes her mighty word processor. If she is correct, we have seen at least one greedy investor in our midst. Who would have thought it? The concluding chapters touch on a few significant buildings outside Denver and its near suburbs, including some in Boulder and El Paso Counties. Chapter 27, Rest in Peace, fittingly ends the volume by mentioning lost gems. Paris and Washington, D.C., seek out architects such as I. M. Pei to give them signature structures. Great cities hire top-flight landscape architects such as Lawrence Halprin to design exquisite spaces. Denver, on the other hand, seems at times to revel in pulverizing its patrimonyno matter how renowned the creator, no matter how great the beauty, no matter how tawdry the replacement. Governors and mayors can no longer proudly show visitors anything but a shadow of Halprins Skyline Park or point out where the Hyperbolic Paraboloid once graced Zeckendorf Plaza. Thanks to Mary Voelz Chandler and the Denver Architectural Foundation for giving us an exemplary work and reminding us that great cities demand more than imagination and talk. They must be made, made well, and made beautifully. And to retain their greatness they must be governed by people who respect and preserve their treasures. Reviewer Info: Stephen J. Leonard is chair of the History Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver and a former member of the Denver Landmark Commission. His most recent book, with Carl Abbott and Thomas J. Noel, is Colorado: A History of the Centennial State (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 5th edition, 2013).