The Larimer, an urban luxury hotel

Material Information

The Larimer, an urban luxury hotel Larimer Square, Denver, Colorado
Bensley, B. Nicol
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
22, [12] leaves : illustrations (some color), charts, maps, plans ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Hotels -- Designs and plans -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Hotels ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaf 22).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
B. Nicol Bensley, Jr.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
12635230 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1985 .B457 ( lcc )

Full Text
City Side
Mountain Side

An Architectural Thesis presented to the College of Design and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture.
B. Nicol Bensley, jr. Spring 1985

The Thesis of B. Nicol Bensley, jr. is approved
Principle Advisor
University of Colorado at Denver Dec. 5, 1983

-THESIS STATEMENT.......................... P
-THESIS PROJECT................................. p
-THE SITE......................................... p
-ZONING ISSUES.....................................p
-HISTORY OF THE AREA and SITE......................p
-SITE ANALYSIS. ................................p
-HISTORY OF THE HOTEL...........................p
-THE PROGRAM. ................................... p
-PROGRAM BREAKDOWN and DIAGRAMS..................p-
-BUILDING CODES...................................p
-REFERENCES and INTERVIEWS. ............... p
conclusions l design solution


"When we speak of architecture it is not necessarily a question of expressing its purpose in literal terms, but rather of understanding in what form it is possible to give a theme to functional requirements, freeing oneself of material restrictions."
Q.M. Ungers
Architecture is a combination of the functional requirements of a particular project and the higher meaning of relationships between man, his environment and his culture. It is the "blending together of two objects, such as a man and woman ki ssi ng" (Roberto F'irzio Biroli, Italian arch.)? the combination of the real with the ideal; the functional with the aesthetic; a building as both an object and as part of a greater context.
In my thirty years of education, travel and observation I have arrived at two major conclusions or philosophies about man, life and architecture. The first of these I initially became aware of while studying English Literature as an undergraduate, and is portrayed in much of Herman Melvilles writing symbolically as white, black and grey. What he and I are both refering to is the concept of the duality of life; essentially that life is comprised of a series of oppossing forces, yin and yang, or the spiritual versus the physical for example, which both define and conflict with each other, The second conclusion is that man is ulitimately in a struggle to try to balance these forces, to establish a rationale or order as a reference from which to try to achieve harmony. Ultimately man strives to see? things as a whole. O.M. Ungers in his book "ARCHITECTURE AS THEME" discusses these dualities or idiosyncracies within the environment, and states that it is the c r e a t i v e i n d i v i d u a 1 who f i n d s c a n n e c t i o n s o r r e 1 a t. i o n s h i p s b e t w e e n the two, the uncreati ve individual who rationalizes them as opposites or unrelated extremes. He refers to this process as '' t r a n s f o r m a t i o n a rn ovem e n t between the two e x t r e m e s of c onstrai n t. and chaos.
My thesis project represents an opportunity for me to combine the architectural skills I have accumulated during my formal education with the ideas of duality, opposition, transformation and rationale, I believe that design should go beyond the basic functional and structural requirements of a "building" to a higher level of meaning responding to the cultural and collective needs of society and the interrelationship between man and his environment. Architecture is the process of taking an appropriate idea or theme and developing a building which conveys both this theme, and satisfies t. h e p h y s i c a 1 r e s t r a i n t s a n d r e q u i r e m e n t s o f a p a r t i cul a r project, A building ultimately becomes the vehicle for or man i f estat i on of t he idea.

My "thesis" is this process of transformation (as described by IJngers), of combining opposing -forces into a unified whole. I believe that sensative architectural design must respond to the idiosyncracies of the total environment; and while compromise is often necessary in the practical realm, ideally, contrasting forces can be brought together in a harmonious way, which is both responsive to the individual users and the environment at large.
My vehicle to test this thesis is the design of a luxury hotel comp 1 ex i n Lar .i mer Square, Denver s f amed hi st.or i c district. My initial interest in this project originated from rny fascination with the complexities of an urban environment and a desire to investigate and resolve its idiosyncracies. In particular, the site I have chosen offers opportunities to investigate the interaction between the new and the old; at building which must maintain its own identity while also reinforcing the existing urban fabric or genius Loci; a low context versus the pragmatic necessity of a mid-rise hotel complex; and the contrast between the harder urban edge of the city versus the potentially softer natural edge of Cherry Creek, which borders the site, and the mountains in the distance.
My interest in designing a luxury hotel on this site was a product of both its appropriateness for the tourist and business oriented market, abounding in the area and its potential potential as a landmark and focal point within the neighborhood.
The project is broken into two parts on two separate sites, with pr i metr y f oc us on the des i gn of t he 1 ux ury hotel on on e site. Adjacent to this, will be a residential, condo-hotel which I have master planned. Development of it. will depend on both time and the necessary interaction between the two projects as a whole. The reason for considering two sites are primarily fourfold. First, the two parcels are controlled by the same developer and offered as one parcel. Secondly, the condo-hotel piece of the master plan as an adjunct faci1ityincreases the finacial feasibility of the luxury guest hotel and responds to the need for residential buildings in t h e a r e a. T h i r d, i s t h e p r o b ax b 1 e need f o r a d j u n c t facilities for parking, which initial feasibility studies have shown cannot. be accomodated easily on the primary site. Parking for both facilities could therefor be located on the secondary site. However, it is r ecommended t hat f ur ther i n vest. i gat i on of p ar k i ng on t he primar y site be undertaken in preliminary design. Fourth, master planning of the secondary site also affords me the opportunity to initiate some urban concepts that I feel appropriate to Larimer Square.



Nathan Owings of S.O.M., recently stated in a lecture I attended that "architecture can only be as good as the environment it is in." I feel it is essential for the designer to always think in larger terms when dealing with a specific project.. Questions like, how does the environment or context work or not work, how does this specific project interact with the surroundings, and what can be done to further strengthen the environment itself and the projects relationship to it, are questions which should be considered.
Observation and analysis of Larimer Square has led me to three major conclusions or urban planning concepts for the Square. These are; to make the square a square; to carve out or define the boundries of Larimer Square within the larger urban f abri c of the city (in essence to make the Square a well defined place within the city); and finally to try to give the street. back to the people, without necessarily removing vehicular traffic.
The first of these, making the Square a square is not meant to be quite so literal, however, it has always bothered me that Larimer Square is essentially nothing more than a street. It is my intent, to e x p a n d t h e b ound r i e s o f L a r i m er SB q ua r e b y I i n k i n g L ar i mer SB t. w i t h Market St. and developing the alley inbet.ween with pedestrian oriented retail, similar to the alley between Larimer and Lawrence. Service would still continue along this alley, however, it. would have to be regulated to specific periods of the day.
Second, the carving out of the Square within the larger downtown fabric, is a result of a desire to maintain the special character and scale within the Square. Analysis of the area reveals that three corners of the Square are defined by midrise to highrise buildings, in contrast to the 34 story context of the majority of the Square. The hotel site on the corner of Market and 14th Streets offers the p o t e n t i a 1 o f d e f i n i n g the f o u r t h c o r n e r T h i s i s p a r t i c u 3. a r i 1 y a 11 r a c t i v e c o n c e p t u a 11 y, bee a u s e it g i ves the hi o t e 1 a v ery s t r o n g place both within the fabric of the Square, and as part of the larger urban context.
Third, the concept of giving the? street (s) back to the people has its obvious benefits in a heavy retail area. Opening up the alley between Larimer and Market, extends the Square as previously stated, plus allows for added retail and open space. However, more i m p o r t. a n t i s t h e n e e d to ope n L. a rime r s tree t, t he he a r t a f t h e S q u a r e, t o t h e p e d e s t r i a n W h i 1 e i t s e e m s i m p o s s :i. b 1 e t h a t t. h e s t r e e t. will ever be totally closed to vehicles, with the exception of weekends, it is my feeling that given the proposed change in existing traffic routes (see Site Analysis), the sidewalks on Larimer st (particularily the sidewalk to the north which gets gr eat sout her n eposur e) sh ou 3. d 13 e ex pan d ed a 1 1 owi n g f or out door activities, cafes, etc. By providing two lanes of traffic and one lane of parking this north sidewalk could increase by 20 feet, allowing 30 feet of pedestrian space. On a larger scale, this gesture would also help to 1 i n k t.he Square wi th t.he 161h Street Mai 1 .


(= ft'

r 1
a ft
15 th ST.

14 th ST.
1 - "V
k V- -

1 R.... >- ..proDOsed new retail. 2- < RETAIL 8,600 sq (ground floor) ft.
"'ll- ..New Condo-Hotel cr: cr o CtL Hotel rooms 91,000 sq. (four floors w/ ft.
rrm.. mtl ..Pedestrian Circulation. Q_ 130 rooms; 5-700 sq.ft Parking 300 cars. (with LARIMER narking) ea.)


The site is comprised of six lots located adjacent to historic Larimer Square. The primary portion of the site, and the focus of this design project, is located at the corner of 14th and Larimer streets. Bordered to the west by Cherry Creek and Speer Boulevard, it is a triangular site consisting of primarily 33,000 sq. ft. and zoned B--5. Located at the western end of Larimer Square proper, it has landmark potential because it marks the end of the Square and the edge of the city. It presently is a small parking lot with some open space.
The remai n ing portion, the 1ocat i on of the ad j oi ning condo-hote1 is across 14th on the corner of Market St., consisting of approximately 32,000 sq. ft. and zoned B-7. It presently contains three small buildings, of little historic significance, and a parking lot. Both properties are presently controlled by Larimer Square Assoc:., though the primary site is actually owned by the city of Denver.
The site(s) offer a rich variety of contextual and urban constraints. Df major significance is historic Larimer Square, of which the site is undeniably a major part. However, the site also acts independant1y from the Square, being also part of the new mid-rise construction which is taking place along Speer Boulevard, the edge of downtown Denver proper. So the site becomes the intersection between two major urban influences, the old and the n e w. S i m i I a r i 1 y, t h e site also is a t. t h e j u ncture b e twee n t. he c i t y and its u r b a n f a b r i c a n d t h e p o t. e n t i a 11 y m o r e n a t u r a 1 conditio n s o f Cherry Creek.
The primary site is zoned for B-5, the same zoning as a majority of downtown. The primary emphasis of this zoning is for maximum square footage. It is this authors opinion that given the historical context of Larimer Sq. and the site's relationship to it, that the zoning should entice a more sensitive response to this context, not to maximum footage. The secondary site, on Market Street is zoned E<---7, the primary emphasis of this zoning is to encourage the preservation and vitality of older areas that are significant because of their economic, historic and architectural char ac t er. In essense, t he goal is t o p r es erve t he ex i st i n g scale of the buildings in the area. This goal, I feel, is pertinent to the project as a whole, despite the specific opportunities which a certain zoning line and classification might provide.
10 times square footage of site with incentive bonuses, piazas,atriurns,arcades,etc.
possible Floor Area Ratio 15:1, with bonuses.
2 times square footage of site with incentive bonuses, plazas, arcades, retail, etc.
possible Floor Area Ratio 7:1, with bonuses.


Larimer Square is Denvers most historic remnant, "the heart of Denvers past and the center of its future." It presently is the largest tourist attraction in metro Denver, being lined with shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants, and is located within walking distance of the cities major transportation centers (Union Station, the new RTD), the new 16th St. Mall, 17th St. business district (the Wall Street of the Rockies) and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Denver was founded in 1858 by Gen. Larimer and initially consisted of only the 14th~15th block of Larimer street. With the ensuing gold rush and western trend, Denver developed into a city with Larimer street remaining the heart of the cities activity, featuring shops, saloons, restaurants and hotels, surrounded primarily by residential housing. In the early 1SCOs development moved up along 17th St., however, Larimer St. was to remain Denvers main retail area, being renovated in 1965 as Larimer Square, Denvers first Landmark Preservation District and becoming a major tourist attraction. It has also become a location for major city events and festivities. Often Larimer street is closed weekends to vehicles and open to pedestrian street activity.
The history of the site of the future Larimer Hotel or THEE SITE as it might. properly be alluded to, in particular reflects the significance and heritage of Larimer Square. In 1 £372, with Denver rapidly growing, the first Denver City Hall was constructed on the s i t. e. T h e r e it w a s t o r e m a i n a s a 1 a n d rn a r k i n t h e c i t y, u n til 19 41 when it was torn down, and replaced by the new city hall up on Capitol Hill. It has since remained a vacant lot, accomidating alittle green grass, a few cars, and the old City Hall bell- a monument to the 1 andmark it once was.
Cherry Creek, which borders the western edge of the site also offers an interesting background. Named because it once was lined with beautiful 1 cherry trees, it became, during Denvers origion, one of the maj or transport;at i on routes f or trave 1 ers head i ng n o r t h / s a u t h a Ion g t h e mounta i n f r o n t.. In t h e m i d d 1 e a n d I a t e 1800 s it was lined with numerous inns and boarding houses. As a result of several major floods, noteably in 1864 and 1896, the Army Core of Engineers in the early 1900s constructed massive concrete retaining wa11s to contro1 the f1ood waters. While solving the flooding problem with these retaining walls, the once beautiful creek. became nothing more than an enormous ditch, defining the edge of the city. The construction of Speer Boulevard also added to the destruction of the once beautiful natural edge. In the mid 1930s after another major flood, the Core of Engineers and City of Denver started planning the Cherry Creek Reservoir and dam. Completed in 1950, it h a s s i g n i f i c: an 11 y r e d u c e d t h e 100 year f 1 o o d 1 e ve .1 i n the c r ee k I n the last decade there has been a movement to return the creek to the people in the form of outdoor spaces, terraces, recreational facilities, etc. In essence the intent has been to soften the massive concrete boundries and open public access to the creek. To date, the only major outcome of this interest has been the bikepath runn j. ng f rom Cherry Crsek vi 1 1 age to downtown .

i $ll. rr'izi' 'Ir r i
c : r *
'Mi iilt
THE SITE- The Old City Hall
South Side elevation.

tninin, ,
' "~B
15 JJU.iIMU.l1T-
North Side elevation,
Historic Larimer Street
Renovated Streetscape.

The primary site is located at the western edge of Larimer Square. It is presently unbuilt on and surrounded on all 4 slides by both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Any structure built on it becomes essentially a free standing object. Consequently, the surrounding traffic patterns have a significant effect, on the site. Fourteenth street to the east has relatively moderate, southbound one way traffic and could easily accomodate a dropoff area or porte-cochere. Larimer street to the south, is one of the major traffic arteries during rush hour, especially in the afternoon. During the rest of the day, traffic is only moderateIy heavy. At present there is also a busstop located at this edge of the site, handling approximately 100 buses, having potential design impact along this edge. Noise becomes a definite concern for any facilities, especially guestrooms located along the street, given the existing traffic conditions. Speer Boulevard to the west, of the site accomidates a large quantity of rush hour traffic in the morning and afternoon. During the rest, of the day it is moderately heavy. Speer Boulevard, fortunately, does not border the site, being buffered somewhat by the Creek. However, there is still a strong visual problem along this edge of the site, as Speer is directly in the viewing line from the ground level. Market Street to the north, i s one way east.bound and has re 1 at i veI y light traf f i c thruout the day, being used primarily as a connector between Speer and the commercial areas up along Market and Blake streets. It offers good potent i a 1 as a servi ce access to the si te.
Predominate pedestrian circulation to the site is along Larimer St. from the east and the :L6th Street Mall, although some pedestrian approach is common from downtown and the performing arts center along 14th. St.
Recently there has been much talk about re-routing traffic from L a ri mer St. (esp eci ally d ur i n g r ush h our) and t h e possibilit y of closing traffic in the Square proper (14th-15th block), making it a pedestrian street. While this is most ideal, more real i st. i cal 1 y the Traffic Planning Dept. is planning to re-route major traffic arteries to Arapahoe and Lawrence as inbound and outbound routes respectively. Consequently, the traffic along Larimer would be greatly reduced, especially during evening rush hour. This would allow the opportunity to reduce Larimer from 4 lanes to 2 lanes and as planned by Larimer Square Assoc. provide parking along either s i. d e.

As previously indicated, the majority of traffic noise is from Larimer street to the south and Speer Boulevard to the west. This ocaurs pr i mar i .1 y dur i ng rush hour per i ods. 0f course, re- rout i ng rush hour traffic from Larimer would make this much less of a problem. Fourteenth St. to the east and Market St. to the north present little noise problem on a regular basis.
As is common to Denver, the predominant view from the site is of the mountains to the west. This of course is the distant view, the foreground view, unfortunately, is dominated by Speer Boulevard, the viaduct, and the Auraria campus parking lots. In the imediate forefront, below eyelevel is the remnant of the once beautiful Cherry Creek, now a large culvert which borders the edge of the site a n d b u f f e r s i t f r o m S p e e r B o u 1 e v a r d .
To the southwest is a view of Auraria Campus, the visual landmarks being Tivoli (presently being renovated into a retail complex) and the Auraria chapel, both of which project vertically amidst the relatively flat context. To the Southeast is both a view of downtown and the Skyline Urban Renewal Project in the background and Larimer Square in the foreground. The view and orientation to Larimer is of particular importance since the hotel is directly linked to it. There is little of interest presently for view to the north, except possibly of the continuation of Cherry Creek.

Cherry Creek which borders the western edge at the site offers great potential to the design of this project. The degree to which the creek can be incorporated in the design is primarily a product of its .100 year flood level, which studies have shown can raise the level of the stream to 5196 feet. The average height, of the stream, under nonflooded conditions is approximately 5182 feet, 18 feet below the top of the retaining wall. Reports from soil engineers and water drainage people claim that, under proper waterproofing conditions and construction practices, (underdraining ,etc.) the lower levels could be 19-20 feet below the 100 year flood level due to the relatively short duration of flooding time.
Discussion with Wayland Walker of the Denver Planning Office, t h e i r s p e c i a 1 i s t i n F1 o o d P lain Z o n i n g i. n d i c a t e s t h a t p r o v i d e d c ond i t i on s of the F1ood P1 ai n Z on in g codes ar e not v i o1 ated i t wou1d be possible to remove a major portion of the retaining wall and terrace outdoor spaces down to within several feet, of the bike path level. Of course this area would flood occasionally, however, as 1 o n g a s t. h i s did n o t o b s t r u c t. the f 1 o w c a p a c i t. y o f t h e c r e e k n o r af f ect. the erasi an i n the area .i. t wou 1 cj be permissi b 1 e
Denver coning codes specify specific Flood Plain conditions. A summary of some of the conditions immediately pertinent, to this project study include, but are not limited to the followings
Li mi tati ons of Use.
N o d e v e 1 a p m e n t, u s e, f i 3. 1 c a n s t r u c t i o n a r a 1 ter a t i o n w i t. h i n the flood plaindistrict shall be permitted which acting alone or in combination with or future uses, would cause or result in any of the following;
1. D e s t r u c t j. o n a f h u m a n o c c u p a t i o n o f s t r u c t u r e s, e i 1her f i x e d o r mobile.
2. An obstruction or deposition of any material which would i m pai r t h e flow capacity of a F1ood P1 ai n or i n c r ease the flood water depths or velocities so as to cause proba b 1 e d a m a g e t o o t h e r s, w h e r e v e r 1 o c a t e d .
3. A s u b s t a n t i a 1 i n c r e a s e i n s e d i m e n t a t i o n a n d / o r e r o s i o n
Uses by Rights
1 P r i v a t e a r P u b 1 i c R e c r e a t. i a n A r e a s
Excavati on or Fi 1.1 .
No land excavation or fill operation shall be conducted in the Flood Plain District unless a permit is issued by the zoning administrator based upon a statement from the Director of Wastew a t. e r M an ag eme n t D i v sh o w i n g t hat t. h e r equ e s ted 1 a n d excavation or fill will not adversly affect the probable b e h a v i o r o f t h e w a t e r flows.

Services and utilities to the site seem to pose no particular problams,however, one condition worth noting is the existence of a large (7) sewage line under 14th street which would prevent any underground connection between the luxury hotel and condo hotel c amp 1 ex
A soil analysis and report on the site was done by Chen and Associates, Engineers, Denver, Co. A conclusion of their analysis is as follows;
1S u b s u r f ace c a n d i t i o n s a t t h e s i t e c o n s i s t e d o f 9.5-13 ft. of silty sand fill with some debris over1 ayi n g 2 to 20 ft. af medium dense, c1 ayey sand. Hard c1 aystone-sandstone was encountered at depths o f 15-34 f t.
2. Free groundwater was encountered at depths between 15.5 to 26 ft.
3. The proposed structure should be? founded on straight shaft piers drilled into bedrock and designed for end
b eari n g p r essur es of 70,000p sf an d skin f r i c t i on va1ues of 7,000psf.

Latitudes Longitude: A1titudes
39.45 N 104.52 W. 5,280 ft.
Average yearly precipitation: Average yearly temerature: Average Relative Humidity: Degree Days:
Heati ng:
50.2 degrees F 40"/.
Cooli ng:
Percent possible sunshine:
Denver is located along the South Platte River on the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains. It is characterized climatically by low relative humidity, moderate winds, average temperatures and a high degee of solar radiation. Temperature swings vary from a July average of 73 derees to January's average of 34 degrees. Annual snowfall averages 62", however, persistent snowcover is unusual
Due to the inversion factor from the mountains, Denver frequently experiences severe pollution, a result of the large quantity of traffic coming in and out of the city. This increase in air pollution has altered Denver's climate, effecting both temper at ure an d qua1i t y of so1 ar r ad iat i on
With its high degree of solar radiation, Denver offers excellent opportuni t i es for- solar heat.i ng. Wi t.h i t.s re 1 at i ve 1 y mi 1 d c 1 i mate, it also offers excellent opportunities for outdoor spaces, such as terraces, cafes, parks, etc. Attention should be paid to the strong northwest winds, which affect both the structure and the d e s i r e a b i 1 i t y o f n o r t. h west oriente d s p aces.

j 1 m a m j
j a
s o n d


TOTAL1 14.53-
AVERAGE SNOWFALL (inches) j f m


wind speed
4 -12mph
13-24mph I [



The hotel as type originated from the English Inn or boarding house of the early 16th century. The primary distinction between the two was one of size, inns generally being considered 50 rooms or less. The hotel originated as an urban phenomenon, and with the growth of major European cities such as London or Paris came the demand for larger and more luxurious facilities. Hotels, as with small country inns have traditionally been gathering places, providing services for eating and sleep, serving both the traveler and the local public. Nowadays, the hotel has become a multifaceted type such as the inner city hotel, the resort hotel, the travelers hotel, etc. all directed at a variety of of people; travellers, tourists, business people, as well as people seeking more permanent resi cJence, sueh as condo-hotels.
As Denver became a rapidly growing boom and bust town, especially after the discovery of gold and silver in the mountains, by 1S75 there were approximately 32 hotels in Denver proper. The image of the western hotel developed rapidly in the late 1800s, the success and failure of many towns depended on the central hotel, providing both a public gathering place as well as accomidating many new-comers and travelers. Many western hotels began adopting the cultural and luxury image of the East coast hotel. With its growing prosperity, Denver opened its grandest hotel in 1890, the Brown Palace, designed by the famous Boston architect H.H. Richardson. It represented a significant step in the development of luxury hotels in the west, as a gentlemans hotel it departed from the saloon type and still remains today as Denvers grand luxury hotel.
Whi1e much could be wr i 11en about the deve1opment of the hote1 as a type, several common features or trends are worth mentioning. In looking at some examples of hotels, particularity older ones, it became evident that usually the plan is organized around a large c e n t r a 1 spa c e o r c o u r t y a r d T r a d i t i o n ally, this seems to hi a v e originated with the old English Inn, with a central coaching yard surrounded by ga 11 er i es g i vihg access to the i nd i vi duat 1 rooms.
Common throughout. the hi story of hotel design and planning i s the organization of the building into served and servant spaces, commonly refered to as the front and back of the house respectively. Hotels traditionally have been organized around the separation of these two areas, the public spaces and the service areas.
Recen t t r end s have been away f ram t he 1 ar g e suite i mage to smaller, more efficient, yet flexible spaces. Surveys have shown that a majority of inner city hotels cater to the business community on weekdays and to tourists on weekends and in the summer. C a n s e q u e n 11 y, f 1 e x i b i 1 i t y i n r o o m a r r a n g e m e n t s a n d u s e s i s b e c o rn i. n g i n ere a s i n g 1 y :i. m p o r t a n t

U nr I' 1

Royal Hotel and Athenaeurn Plymouth, England, .1811.
11.8,9 (top and above) Augsburg. Drei Mohren, 1722, by Ignaz Gunezrainer: facade, and plans of ground and first upper floors Key a courtyards, b kitchen, c dining rooms, d sitting rooms, e garden, f coach-house range and storerooms, g stables, h harness room, i passage and wood-store, j rooms for women and men servants, k ballroom, 1 Rittersaal, m chapel, n bedrooms

Probably the most significant aspect of a hotels success is both its location and the IMAGE the hotel conveys. The image ot the hotel is ultimately a response to both the context of the
s u r r o u n d i n g s a n d t h e t y p e o f des i gn ers r espon s ib i1it y t o a 1 u u r y h o t; e 1 i n L a r i m e r b e c o rn i n g b o t h a 1 a n d m a r k f o r The guestroorn and .1 obby interior spaces, the lobby is
die n tel e t o b e a 11 r a c t e d It is t h e w e a v e t h e s e t w o t o g e t h e r U11 i m a t e 1 y, Square should be chic and eye catching, and a symbol of the Square, are probably the two most important the heart of the hotel, the transition
f rom the street, and the core of act i vi ty and c i rcu1 at i on. The guestroom represents the guests private domain, it is the essential commodity which is being paid for. It should be comfortable, well decorated, and in todays complex market, allow a certain degree of f 1 ei b i 1 i ty and adaptability to the i nd i vidua 1 user
Service is of the utmost importance to a hotels operation and the satisfaction of its guests. Efficient service to both the private guestrooms and to the more public spaces is essential. Functionally, it is imperative to organize the front back, served/servant spaces in a clear and efficient manner, allowing for service to operate without interferring with guest activity. Primary and secondary circulation which is well defined and efficient is therefor essential. It is interesting to note that service essentially begins with the dooorman at the entry and continues throughout every phase of the guests stay. Some of the more prestigious luxury hotels have a servant/ guest ratio of 1:2

PORTE COCHERE................
LOBBY. ...................
Porter Station and storage... Coats. .........................
Men.. Women.
Manager. ............
Storage. ............
Mai 1 Sort i ng.....
COFFEE SHOP5 (50 person).....
RESTAURANT; (200 person) ., KITCHEN and inmed j. ate storage
RETAIL, 5 stores minimum.......
4 car 1,300 150 150
. 200
. 300
. 150 120 140 150 60 100 1,000 4 000
2, 000
TOTAL; PUBLIC.............15,300
157. c ireu 1 at i on ........ 2,370
(m i. n 2 e 1 e v a t o r s)
T 0 T AL w / c i r c.... 18, 17 0
capacity s q. ft. sq. ft. s q. ft.
sq. ft. s q. f t:..
s q. ft. s q. ft. s q. f t. s q.. ft. s q. ft. s q. ft. s q. ft. s q. ft. s q. ft.
s q. ft.
s q. ft.
sq. ft. s q,. f t,.
s q f t.

KITCHEN, extra storage........... 1, 000 sq. ft.
EMPLOYEE DINING................... 500 sq. ft.
EMPLOYEE LOCKERS w/ bathrooms.... 1, 000 sq. ft.
GENERAL STORAGE.................. 1, 250 sq. ft.
RECIEVING w/ office............... 800 sq. ft.
MAINTENANCE....................... 600 sq. ft.
HOUSEKEEPING/ STORAGE............. 300 sq. ft.
BOILER/ MECHANICAL.............. 1,000 sq. ft.
TOTAL: SERVICE............ 7, 000 sq. ft.
10% circulation............. 650 sq. ft.
(min. 1 elevator)
TOTAL.............8, 000 sq. ft.
GUESTROOMS, 200 rooms (maximum)
75 SUITES, 2 rooms @ 600 sq. ft. total.... 45, 000 sq. ft.
125 SINGLES, @ 350 sq. ft. each.... 43,750 sq. ft.
MAIDS SERVICE, 300 sq. ft. x 5 floors. 1, 500 sq. ft.
PENTHOUSE, 3 @ 800 sq. ft......... 2,400 sq. ft.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES or ........... 4, 000 sq. ft.
TOTAL, guest.............95, 900 sq, ft.
15% circulation........ 14,000 sq. ft.
TOTAL w/ circulation. 110, 000 sq. ft.
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE............ 140,000 sq. ft.
PARKING................................150 cars
(parking for hotel could be located on adjacent site. )

P R 0 G R A li B R E A K D 0 WIM a n d DIA G R AMS
ENTRYa There shouId i deally be on1y one maj dr entry wh i ch conveys we 1 c.ome a n d c lari t y o f c: i r c u 1 a t i o n i n t o t h e lobby and to the front desk. A door-1T1 a n w o u 1 d b e s t a t i o n e d here.
LOBE REGISTRATION DESK; Is the center of the hotel. It handles mail, and general information for the guests and s h o u 1 d b e a f o c a 1 p o i n t a f t h e e n t. r y lobby, sequence. A porters station should be located nearby as well as phones. 11 shouId a 1 so be cannected w i t h a d m i n i s t r a t i o n .
A D MIN 1ST R A T ION; P r a vide s t. h e b a sic iTi a n a g e r i a 1 / a d rn i n i s t r a t i v e f u n c t i a n s i nc1uding reservati one, bookeepi ng,
m ail s o r t i n g c o m rn u n i c a t i o n s,, e t c 11 ess en t i ally bri d g es t h e f rant bac k spat. j. a 1 organ i z at i on
ELEVATORS; There should be one el, f o r e v e r y f i f t y p e o p 1 e. T h e v e r t -i c a 1 c i r c u .1 a t i o n i s t h e p r i rn a r v 1 i n k a n d t r a n s i t i o n f r o m t. h e p u b 1 i c t a t h e p r i v ate g u e s t r o o rn s

LQUN6E/BAR: T he 1ounqe bee omes
the primary gathering gathering place for both the public and guests of the? hotel It should be? c. omf or table, well controlled and
easily accessible from the lobby. Idea 1.1 y i t shou 1 d be connected to the main dining facility although one should not have to pass thru the 1 ounge to get t.o t.he d i n i ng .
MAIN DINING: A majority of guests desire going out for dining .however f aci 1 i t.i es f or f ormal d i n~
ing should be provided.The dining area shouId be f1 exi b1e a11ow i n g
for private dining. It should be? consp i cuous 1 y and con vi en 11 y 1 oc --
ated for access from the lobby.
CAFEs The cafe is an adjunct of the Dining r o o m at n d u s u all y p r o v ides con vientent, quick and informal dining for both guests and public. It could become part of the Bar/Lounge.
CIRCULATION; Is one of the most important aspects of hotel design. There are primarily two types of cirulation, pr i mary for guests and sec:ondarv f or servi ce. The organ i zat i on must p1 an for ef f i ci en t circulation with sep~ arate routes for staff and guest. A r e at s w h i c h a r e a s s o c i a t e d f u n c t i o n -a11y shou1d be grouped together.
0 0

GLJEE STROP Id; The guestroorn i s probab 1 y
the most important part of the hotel, esse n t. i a 11 y t. h e p u r c h a s e a b 1 e c o m m a cl -ity and domain of the guest. It also p1 ays a major role in the bui1ding itself, serving as a series of cell-u11 ar spaces and determi ni ng the stria c t u r a 1 m o d u 1 e a f t h e b u i 1 d i n g u s -ually two rooms per bay.. The trend i n r o o m d e sign i s t o w a r cl s smaller, m o r e e f f i c i e n t, yet f 1 e >: i b 1 e r a a m s with high design standards. In this p r o g r a rn t h e rn a r k e t is d i r e c t e d t ow-ards both the tourist. and the bus i nessman, therefor f1 exi bi1i ty i n u s e a n d a r r a n g e m e n t i s e s s e n t i a 1 Singles are to be designed to be converted into suites as well as b e i n g u s e d a s rn e e t i n g places. T h e b a s i c c o rn p o n e n t s o f the single r o o m is cl o s e t s pace, s 1 e e p i n g a n d b a t h f ac:i 1 i ti es, secondary spaces inc 1 ude balconi es, si 11i ng areas, et.c.
MAID/SERVICEs Service of and to the g u e s t. r o o m s i s c: r u c i a 1 f a r t h e s a t i s -f a c t. i o n o f t h e g u e s t., this i n c 1 u d e s b o t h r o o rn s e r v i c e a n d rn a i d s ervice, E a c h f 1 o o r s h o u 1 d h a v e a d e q u a t e s e r -v i c e f a c i 1 i t i e s, s t o r a g e f o r 1 i n e n maid storaqe, and vert ica1 servi ce faci1ities, which 1ink to the major s e r v i c e spa c e s b e 1 o w,. S e r v ice fa c i1i ties shou1d b e concealed f r om t h e g u e s t s v i. e w.
these play a major part in the guest p!'" o c e s s i o n f r o m p u b 1 i c s p a c e t o p r i -vate room. Adequate space (910ft.) i n the e 1 evator 1 obby shou 1 d be i n-c o r p o r a t e d i n t. h e d e s i g n C o r r i d o r s (r e c o rn m e n d e d w i d t h 5 + f t. ) s h o u 1 d provide some interest and sense of p r o c e s s i o n ., R e 1 i e f i n 1 o n g c o r r i d o r s is r e e o m m e n d e d p o s s i b 1 y b y o p e n i n q them up to a view or a small guest 1 o u n g e s p a c e.
ENTRIES a En tr i es i n t o guest r oorns i s
0 f m a j o r i m p o r t a n c e i n t h e p r o c e s s -
1 o n EE n t r i e s s h o u 1 d b e w ell d e f i n e d e n t r y a 1 c o v e s a re rec o rn m e n ded .
hT+T 1 t it t bfH 11 f 1 f
i 1 J l lilt

(ETT~ a T- <2t ? o a a-

A .

SEERVICEThe ob j ec t i ve here i s t o provide good service to the hotel g u e 51 w i t hou t. rn a.j o r i n t e r a c t i o n ta e t w een the guest an d employer, ex-cept as r equired
SE RVICE E N TRY: Should be separated
and concealed -from public entry. It s h o u 1 d be 1 o c a ted a d j a c e n t to t. h e r ec i ev i ng area.
KITCHEN; The kitchen is the heart of the back of the house,, supporting the dining cafe, and lounge areas,as well as the i nd i vi dua1 guestrooms
for room service. It should be ad-j acent to the d i n i ng r aam and caf e, have close access to vertical service circulation and be easily accessible to storage and recievingEmployee din-i ng i s a 1 so ad j ac en t t.o t he k itchen.
TOR AGE:: Storage for food, liquor.
1 i men , and fur n i ture ? G tc must be
ct c 0 s sible and c 1 os 0 to v erti c a 3.
Hi 0 r v i ce circulat i on
REGIE VING: Reci evi ng i s c r i t i cal
p a i n t in the ser v i c e s eque nc 0 a Foods,
1 i nen s, and at her g o o d s arr i. ve and
must be checks d and d i sp ate bed to
t h e i r a p p r o p r i a t e d e st j. n at i on B ,, i e,
st or ag e, ki t c hen,et c. A con tr o1 off-i c e s h a u 1 d b e 1 o c a t e d h e r e, G a r Ed a g e i s a 1 s a u s u a 11 y a c c o m i d a t e d h e r e, Generally, recieving should be access i b .1 e to stor age facilities and vertical service circulation and c o n c e a led f r a m p u b 1 i c a r e a s..

The project is potentially a variety of code types classified under U.B.C. codes,. The following is primarily a summary of some of the pertinent codes, however, it is recommended that the designer refer to both the U.B.C. and Denver code books for any information n o t i n c 1 li d e d h ere,,
TYPE 1- Construction ... unlimited height and footage.
TYPE 2 Group A; D i v 3. - bui 1 d i ng wi t. h an assemb 1 y r oom wi t h occupancy less than 300.
TYPE 2~ Group B; Di v. 2! -- all retail or wholesale.
TYPE 2- GROUP R H E> i v. 1. - H o t e 1 s a n d A p a r t. m e n t s.
ROUP R; D i v. 1. Hotel c: and Apartments.
FLOOR AREA: ., . Eve r y dwe11i ng un i t shall have
at least one room not less than 150 sq ft.
-01her hab i tab1e rooms shall not be 1es
than 70 sq ft.
Min. width of any habitable room other than kitchen shall not be less than 7.
1-1 a b i t a b 1 e s p a c e s s h a 11 h a v e c e i 1 i n g
not less than 7-06" except kitchens, halls
or baths where they they may be 7-0"
HfiND I CAP. .....Bui 1 d i n gs con tain i ng mor e t han 20 g uest.r ooms
sha11 be accessi b1e to the handi cap
Publie sp ac es must also be ac c es s i b1e t o t h e h a n d i c a p.
In general specific codes relate primarily to GROUP R T h i s s u m m a r y f o c u s e s p r i m a r i 1 y o n codes r e 1 a ting t. o F i r e r e q u i r e m e n t s i n t h e Gv R 0 U P R c a t e g o r y,.
Di v and
1 .
i t
FIRE., .Fire ratings for all types is 1 hour.
0ne hour r at i ng between a11 rooms. Every room above the 4th floor must h a v e a n appro v e d f i r e a 1 a r m s y s t e m

EXITS) REQUIRED... Ex :i t is an unobstructed and continuous means
at egress to a public way.
--Occupants on floors above the second story shall have access to not. less than two exits.
.Floors and basements used exclusively for
service may have access to only one exit.
-The maximum distance of travel from any point to an exit shall not exceed 150 ft,, for unsprinkled, corridors, 200 ft. for sprinkled corri dors.
-Ever y s1eepin g r oom b elow t he 41 h f1oor sh a11 have at least one operable window; min. clear opening 5.7 sq, ft., min. clearance 24", not more than 44" above the finished floor.
TABLE no. 33-A USE min. of 2 exits other than els. w/ occupant load more than- Occupant 1 oad f actor (s q. ft.) access by ramp or elevator for hand i cap.
Assemb1y areas -Conference rooms Di n i ng r ooms -Bars/ L o u n g e s 50 1 U yes
G arage/ Pa rk i n g 30 200 yes
OweI1i ngs 10 300 no
A p a r t rn e n t s / H o t els 10 200 yes
K i t c h e n com m e r c .i a I 30 200 no
Of f i ces 30 100 ves
3 Stores- basement 7 20 yes
ground 50 30 yes
upper 10 50 y e s
S w i m m in g pools 50 15 yes
Locker rooms 30 50 yes

.All doors s h a 11 s w i n q i n t h e d i r e c: t ion of exit travel.
-All exit doors shall be at least 3- -0 x 6-3".
.All corridors must be a minimum of 44" serving an occupant load of 10 or more.
-Mi n i mum width is 36".
Mi n i rn u rn h e i q h t i s 7 0 .
-Maximum dead end is DO-.
.Minimum dimension is 44" for load of 50 or more. -Maximum rise is 7.5" by min. run of 10".
-Mini m u m h e adroo m c 1 e a r ance is 66 .
- S t. a i r w ays rn u s t r e m a i. n f r e e o f o b s t r i.i c t i o n .
.Mini mum width i s 44"
-Ml ax i mum s 1 op e is 1:12.
-There must be a landing for each 5" of rise. -Landinqs at bottom of ramp can not be less t h an 6r in d i r e c: t i o n o f r a m p .

1. Alexander, Christopher. A PATTERN LANGUAGE
0 x fa r d U n i v e r s i t v P r e s s.. 1977.
2. Arps, Louisa Ward. DENVER IN SLICES Sage? Books, Denver Co. 1959, pp. 75-86.
R i z z a 3. i I n t. e r n a t i o n a 1 Publications, Inc:,., N. Y , 1979.
4. Dal las, Sandra. CHERRY CREEK GOTHIC University of Oklahoma Press.,1971.
Cornell Journal of Architecture, Ithica, N. Y., 1981, pp. 48-67.
C cd r n e 11 J o u r n e 1 o f A r c h i t e c t u r e, 1t h i c a, N. Y, , 19 S1, p p, 68.85.
Urban Land Institute, Wash, D.C., 1980.
8 M0TELS, H0TELS AND C0ND0MINIUMS, Ar c h i t ec t ur a 1 Rec: ord Boo 1: s,
F. W. Dodge Corp .. N. Y. , 1953
Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.,1976, pp.169-193.
10. Rudo-f sky, Bernard. STREETS FOR PEOPLE
Americ an Her i t a ge Pub1ishi ng Ca., 1964
U.Sartoff, Henry. METHODS OF ARCHITECTURAL PROGRAMMING Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Inc., N.Y., 1977.
McGraw Hill Inc.., N.Y., 1973, pp. 719-752.
G r u p p a E d i t a r i a 1 e E1 e c t a, I n c:., M i 1 a n o, 11 a 1 y, 1982.,
1. Art Menguel- manager- Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Co.
2.. Lucy She 1 bv head pi anner Lar i mer 3quare Associ 3, Romain Blake- manager- The Oxford Hotel, Denver, Co.
4.. Wayl an d Wa 1 k er p 1 an n er Den ver P1 an n i n g Dep t,.


Tflf*nmim Ttt
Mountain Side

J\J i i \

r introduction,
, + ~ + ; ,-ion r^-P
the design of the Larimer hotel was ;o the idea of architecture as theme. Essential to m appropriate theme (or concept) for the design of stablishment of the image or meaning of the Hotel, itself as a 'building type" and more significantly ;s relationship ro its contextual setting. Another concern in the design process was the development of positive urban open spaces within Larimer Square, which I feel are as important in an urban environment as the buildings themselves.
As stated in
an investigation
the development i
the Hotel was th
001. h in relation
its relationship
The conceptual theme developed for the Larimer Hotel was one of dualities and transformation between; generated in response to the contextual issues of old and new. within the existing architecture,and the sites opposing edges of city side and creek/mountain side. The precedent for my design solution was the classic circle in a square parti, Combined with this was the trauition in older hotels of being organized around a central open space or courtyard. Abstractions to the purity of the parti were necessitated by the triangular shape of the site, though attempts were made to visually complete the square and circle via paving patterns into the creek, and the location of a test panel at the fourth corner across Soeer Boulevard.
I feel the parti of the circle in the square to be particularly appropriate in exploiting the concept of dualities and contrasting contextual issues particular to the site. The Square portion, bordering historic Larimer Eq. was developed in a mre traditional vocabulary of
vmioVi n. \ r\'~ ~ -n* a r*i r5 ^ oonvc f i wo 1 i vm "1 c* 03,nd.jLn'*r X'IS C1. Z' C Ul 3.2T
portion modern ,

ranched openings and decorative lintels an was developed in a more modern vocabulary in response to the :eing developed along Epeer Boulevard. ^
:urtain walls,
* O O r* r
vnw-L L j
3 1 S H o V*
a~; tne
to be continue itself in the Cher serves to v/ni on has
; eatures
;oleil, and cantilevered primary balconies dge, alluding to the fact that the building wants mpleted. The inner circular courtyard completes
vice and c
ink the hotel to th
een doc ion^ ignore
at ion of the no nt'lo
wV d C UiiOjjS borde
: or war

nl -
hhe upper
s pucl: oriented five c;
program i:
r the street on the ground floors while : spaces, lounge, bar, restaurants,etc. are contained to the open plaza and view of tne mountains and creek
ontain tne guestrooms, special suites being loc-
he ends overlooking Cherry Creek. The corners of the square
were developed as towers, both to handle the el
and service
^ W a. W WA V ^ f I W ^ J w V A A ^ w A WbA A W V A W -A W V W A. -A. A A A/ -a- .A. * -A- ^ W W W A. V
as well as visually anchoring the corners. Two entries were developed at the ground floor to separate the vehicle and the pedestrian, something that I feel is a potential problem with an inner city hotel where people arrive by car, but come and go by foot.
'while a certain amount of design development is still in order, I am. quite satisfied with the concepts and ideas developed in this thesis project. There is no question that a building must satisfy the basic needs of comfort, saftey, etc. for the occupants, however, architecture as an art form must extend beyond the basic parameters of building' and program, and into a higher realm of theatrics, meaning and delight provided that it is not the end unto itself.

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