The Power Plant Art Center Development
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
Susan Ann Kreul-Froseth
The Thesis of
University of Colorado at Denver Date
The concept of transformation expresses change from one state to another. Nature for instance is in a constant process of transformation.
Just as the shoot grows from the seed to become a plant, and eventually a tree, which in its turn produces new seeds that are the beginning of a new cycle, nature as a whole is transformed from season to season.^
Oswald Mathias Ungers
Unger's description brings to light the fact that man, like nature, is also constantly in the process of transforming the environment, as in the course of a river, the slope of a lot, or an entire community. The process is undeniably an ongoing one. The way in which we guide the inevitable transformation of our environment will lead us either to harmonious solutions reflecting understanding of what has taken place before us, or erroneous answers based upon inspiration of the moment.
This thesis proposal will serve as a point of beginning in the study of a riverfront and an existing building, both of which have as yet been left out of the cyle of harmonious transformation Ungers so adeptly describes.
Location: North Central Fort Collins, Colorado.
This thesis project involves the transformation of an existing, now abandoned, municipal power plant built in 1936, into a visual arts center. The project also incorporates two studio buildings for use by artists-in-residence adjacent to the existing building, and a housing development across the river to the north.
The power plant site exhibits potential due to the nature of the landscape to the west or street-facing side and also due to the somewhat isolated, protected space to the east of the existing building.
The site is split by the Cache La Poudre River which winds down from the northwest through the area, flowing to the southeast as it borders the downtown core. College Avenue (Highway 287), forms the boundary to the west of the site. The triangular, 4.8 acre parcel to the south of the Poudre is occupied by the City Power Plant, which continued to operate until 1973 after its construction in 1936. The Power Plant occupies a portion of Old Camp Collins, the U. S. Cavalry Post established in 1864 to guard the Overland Stage Line and the immigrant wagon trains from Indian attack. In addition to its colorful historical roots, the site is a primary focal point from the north entrance into the downtown area due to the high visibility from North College Avenue as well as the surrounding land.
The Power Plant itself remains the subject of several planning studies undertaken by local ad hoc committees in addition to the city planning staff. The City of Fort Collins sought proposals from qualified developers in 1982, in an effort to find a suitable use for the abandoned plant.
The proposal that won the most support involved a Regional Visual Arts Center to serve Colorado and various neighboring states, although the suggested overall rehabilitation plan initiated by the city included mention of a mixed-use development.
The Visual Arts Center will include 40,480 potential square feet, and development is proposed in two phases. There will be an additional 3,000 square feet of studio space to the east.
The housing will consist of eight, two-bedroom units; two units will be slightly larger in terms of square footage, and will function as end units. Each dwelling unit will have a two-car covered parking area. Due to the fact that the housing development is planned within a flood fringe area of the site, the first floor of living space will be required to be elevated from the existing natural grade.
The tree-lined river bank affords intermittent views to the opposite bank, and downstream from the housing site, in addition to providing a degree of privacy. This direction of view is primarily to the south, providing a potentially excellent solar orientation for the dwelling units.
The riverfront site can be regarded as a pivotal point, a place where transition is evident. Its proximity to the Cache la Poudre River course, the boundary of the Downtown Development District, and the future circumvention of highway traffic, are but a few factors relating to this transitional aspect of the site. I propose to show that this process of transition, whether executed in an abrupt or gradual manner, will set a design precedent for further development in and beyond the present downtown core. The relationships of buildings within the boundaries of the site itself, as well as the seemingly autonomous nature of the area, presents an opportunity to explore the many aspects of creating a feeling of place, as well as of punctuation.
The solution will have to exhibit integration within the borders of the site and provide a stepping stone (possibly quite literally) for further development in all directions due to the influential and pivotal nature of the site.
The style of the existing structure will further dictate the design response, and in that way, becomes a crucial aspect of the problem. Optimistically, as designers and architects, we have long asked, how does my design solution fit as a part of the urban whole? Does the existing building become a point of departure, or does one endorse the concept of design in a visual vacuum, as the modernists were said to have believed?
I prefer to deal with the former assumption, and believe that a successful solution is one that incorporates, in this instance, a valid design statement which is already in existence.
The particulars of the existing structure are addressed in the Background portion of this proposal; however, the essence of the asumption is that the building played, and is still performing, a significant role in the community, and in an even broader sense, in the nation as a whole. It serves as a reminder of the path we have taken thus far, and where we are headed.
Thus, I intend to show that the inspiration of an architectural style of an earlier period can serve to enrich and enhance our daily existence and, in turn, the lives of those who follow.
The Old Power Plant has been identified by the city, for
nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, as
" the only Art-Deco industrial building in town and has
been one of the largest structures in the area." The term Art
Decowasfirst coined as an abbreviation of "Exposition des Arts
Decoratifs et Industriels," a Parisian Fair of 1925.
During the 1920's and into the 1930's, we began to see a
fascination with the machine, and the factory image. As one
writer indicates, in one lingering moment the electify-
ing whiplash of Art Nouveau had become nauseatingly rich, and
the matter-of-fact meeting of perpendicular planes had replaced
it as a source of elation and the essence of art. America became confident of her own native inventions such as jazz, the swing style, science fiction, Flash Gordon, the skyscraper, and technological power.
In addition to the inspiration at home, the fine art world
may have helped to set the architectural stage as well. The
short-lived but quite influential Futurist movement originating
in Italy in 1910 set out to violently reject the past and exalt
the beauty of the machine. Speed and power seem to have been a favorite theme in the work of the Futurists. One author writes of the concurrent cubist movement, the similarities and differences in relation to the Futurists. The Futurists, in their political urgency, he notes, were proponents of aggressive composition, strident color, extreme asymmetry approaching vertigo,
and theatrical exhibitionism of both materials and technique. Cubism, in contrast, was restrained, quietly turning and reflecting itself, fitting into compositional place.^
One may perceive that the latter movement has influenced the designer of the Fort Collins Power Plant. At first glance, the building appears almost stately; the facade occupies the grassy expanse as a form unto itself, not as an aggressive addition to the site. Upon closer observation, the feeling of vitality and power the structure evokes is apparent. The ziggurat shape, the aforementioned author would say, relates to the fact that man was able to harness electrical energy, which in turn led to the lightening bolt as a visual symbol, "... inasmuch as the angular and jagged linear progression of the ziggurat had no beginning or end, but did have the correct energetic rhythm, it was inevitable that the indefinite electical image should assume that conformation."^
Walking along its banks, the dynamic rushing power of the Poudre River is also ovious, and we can begin to decipher what many authors believe are two major symbols influencing the Deco movement: nature and the machine.
Perhaps the power plant cannot be correctly categorized as an Art Deco building, as the term remains somewhat illusive.
One author indicates that earlier historians had neglected Art Deco in favor of the International Style, while several contemporary writers discussing the Deco movement now go to the other extreme and suggest that everything produced in the nineteen
twenties and thirties is Art Deco, including the Interntional Style. The same author goes on to suggest, "We will have a more workable model of the styles of the nineteen twenties and thirties if we assume that there was an esoteric style, that is the International Style, alongside of which developed a more popular style which has been named variously Art Deco, Modernistic, Jazz Modern, Zigzag Modern Style 1925, The Twenties Style, The Thirties Style, Streamlined Modern, etc."^
Regardless of the style classification of the power plant, it seems to remain a kind of "understated monument," to the existing abundant resources and power in the City of Fort Collins, as well as of the nation and of a time.
Perhaps one may argue that we are presently experiencing another time much like that of the nineteen twenties and thirties in that speed and power are once again major thrusts, yet another wave of undeniable dynamism has been brought on by a futuristic machine, the computer. And, much like our colleagues of the industial revolution, we will have to respond to the transition of our time.
Fort Collins It Began By the River
It is believed that in the early winter in 1836, a group of French trappers making their way west, passed by the river which flows through what is now known as the La Port-Fort Collins border. Seeking to lighten their load, the party proceeded to bury a portion of their goods, with the intent to return and retrieve them. The word for powder in the French language is "poudre," and for hid, "cache." Hence the river got its name, Cache la Poudre. Some thirty years later the area had become an important stop on the Overland Stage route. An army camp was established in 1864, named after Lieutenant Colonel William 0. Collins of Fort Laramie. Soon after the original camp experienced flooding in the early spring one year, Camp Collins was relocated to a higher spot, which, as previously mentioned, remains the site for this thesis project.
The economy of Fort Collins eventually centered around sandstone granite, and marble; later agriculture was of primary importance. The city has experienced considerable growth, as have many cities along the Rocky Mountain Front Range. The population of Fort Collins has increased from 25,000 in 1960 to 43,000 in 1970. The most recent census in 1980 indicated 64,632 people live in the city, and projections stand at 85,000 for the year 1990. The economy at present is based upon diverse business and industry, Colorado State University, government and agriculture.
Access to the Site
The only existing vehicular access to the Power Plant site is North College Avenue. Access to the south end of the site is limited due to the surrounding physical barriers. The city traffic engineer has indicated it would be impossible to gain a railroad crossing for an additional access from the south.
The access point on North College Avenue will have to be improved in terms of the width, and angle of approach. Additional improvements on College Avenue may be necessary depending upon the level of intensity of site rehabilitation. Future improvements involving College Avenue may be widening of the street, acceleration and deceleration lanes, median work, and relocation of sidewalks.
The housing site to the north has at present potentially unlimited vehicular access from Vine Drive to the north of the site. The City of Fort Collins may carry through with a proposal to make Vine Drive a bypass in the future, allowing vehicular traffic from U. S. 287 (College Avenue), to circumvent downtown for more direct access to 1-25.
Bicycle access to the site remains good, due to the recreational trail system along the Cache la Poudre River, and bikeways within close proximity to the area. The City of Fort Collins has made a strong commitment to bicycling, citing the reduction of air pollution, reduction in energy consumption, and healthy exercise as possible benefits.
bike trail -bi keway/
The site is located within the boundaries of the Poudre Area River Concept (PARC), undertaken by the City Planning Division. Opportunities and potentials of the Poudre River area are the focus of PARC. Listed below is a summary of goals, objectives and recommendations by the City of Fort Collins Planning Department .
Develop the total environment to provide harmony with nature, manmade features and an imaginative use of language and symbols.
Improve the accessibility of the areas north of the Poudre River.
0 Economic Development
Promote increased development in the north and northeastern area of the city.
Protect, conserve, and efficiently use Fort Collins' present and future finite water source. Provde a ' blanced open space system including recreational
scenic and natural areas, trails, parks, and historic sites, commensurate with citizen needs and accessible to all.
Natural Resource Areas High Value resource Areas
Preserve and enhance riparian vegetation Incorporate riparian vegetation and land use areas 0 Integrate recreational and educational programs
Develop and maintain appropriate vegetation and river conditions for water fowl habitats
Encourage the retention of agricultural land 0 Incorporate a small garden plot program River Resources
Preserve and enhance natural river amenities Develop the river as a focal point to a linear park system
Increase activity programs within the park system
Urban Area Recommendations
Mixed use concept compatible with river area Expand activities to encourage tourists and townspeople participation
Develop an urban edge in an area along the river Develop an adaptive reuse program for power plant and vacant public land
City and County support and implement recommendations Identify a maintenance program for the river area Develop an urban design water planning and funding program
Area Circulation Recommendations
0 Provide non-vehicular access to the river Integrate alternative transportation modes Eliminate physical and psychological barriers
The power plant site is zoned IG General Industrial.
Any business, commercial, industrial or manufacturing use
Any land use located on a PUD plan as defined, processed and approved
Planned unit developments, areas which are located on a PUD as defined, processed and approved
The sites north of the power plant are zoned HB Highway Business. This district designation is for automobile-oriented businesses; uses permitted:
Any uses permitted in R-M Medium Density Residential District
Any use permitted in the B-L Limited Business Zone not located in a shopping center
Planned Unit Developments, areas which are located on a Planned Unit Development Plan as defined, processed and approved.
Larimer County Flood Plain Regulations
The Power Plant site is not included in the flood fringe or floodway designated area, and thus does not come under the flood plain regulations at the present time. The proposed housing site, however, is included in the designated area.
The south area of the site, which borders on the Cache la Poudre River, is designated as a floodway district approximately 200 feet from the banks of the river. The remainder of the site is classified as a flood fringe district. The boundaries of these designated flood districts are said to be determined by scaling distances from the official zoning map. Precise location is determined by survey. Specific uses permitted in the designated areas are as follows:
Uses permitted without special permits Agricultural uses
Recreational uses, excluding public and commercial campgrounds and travel-trailer parks Residential accessory uses
Conditions for uses permitted without a special permit No use shall be permitted which is prohibited by any other provison of the Larimer County Comprehsn-sive Zoing Resolution.
No use shall limit or restrict the flow capacity of the floodway or channel or a main stream or a
tributary to the main stream.
No structure, fill, storage of materials or equipment shall be permitted.
Any proposed well, solid waste disposal site or sewage disposal system shall be protected from inundation by flood water.
Uses permitted by special permit
Circuses, carnivals, and similar transient amusement enterprises
Temporary roadside stands Limited stockpiling of sand and gravel Marinas, boat rentals, docks, piers, and wharves Railroads, streets, bridges, utility transmission lines and pipelines Public and commercial campgrounds
Flood Fringe District
Conditions for permitted uses
All structures shall be placed on fill so that the lowest floor of such structure is above the regulatory flood protection elevation.
No use shall be commended nor structures built which may limit or restrict the flow capacity of the channel of a tributary, or drainway, or retard drainage of flood waters from the area in which a structure is built.
Fill or deposition of materials shall be permitted only to the extent required for the placement of structures and their accessory uses.
All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems.
All new and replacement sanitary sewer systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters, and on-site waste disposal systems shall be located so as to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
Fort Collins can be described as having a four-season climate. The average days of sunshine per year number 145 clear days, 151 partly sunny days, and 69 cloudy days. The relative humidity averages 30% in the summer months and 43% in the winter.
Because of the great number of relatively clear days throughout the year, solar heating of buildings is a viable alternative to conventional heating methods during the typical heating seasons. Degree days by month for the Fort Collins are:
J F M A M J M I
1042 854 797 492 266 60 C 3 3 c
Longitude 40 N 2.
J A S 0 N D 1 j
0 0 36 333 792 1132 0 E
MAXIMUM PRECIPITATION MEAN PRECIPITATION MAXIMUM SNOW
Fort Collins enjoys a relatively mild climate and minimal precipitation at least five months out of the year (see temperature chart); therefore, outdoor activity becomes feasible much of the time. Clear sunny days would allow one to sit outdoors within the sun's rays and be quite comfortable from early spring into late fall. The site suggests development of outdoor areas on the south bank of the Cash la Poudre river, as well as on its north shore. Summer activities may take place to the north of the existing building, an area which might be accessible to summer breezes and spring activities connected with the art center may take place to the southeast or southern areas of the site. Balconies and patios to the south of the housing development can conceivably be comfortable in the summer months due to the extensive tree cover and provide outdoor living area in the spring and fall as well. The southern exposure on the housing site provides the opportunity to incorporate passive solar features, as well as to maximize the river views.
LARIMER COUNTY COLORADOAN. FORT OOLLINS. COLORADO
June 11. 1942
Light (S' Power Department
As of April 30, 1942
. from City Dump Grounds in 1935 to City Beauty Spot in 1942
A AAA A A A YEAR IS PAID BY THE DEPARTMENT to the iV)VVViVV CITY OF FORT COLLINS IN LIEU OF TAXES.
Your Light Plant is adequate to serve Fort Collins for the next 10 vears
under normal load growth!
Here is the financial record
Original Bond Issue at 4Vi% Interest...............$745,000.00
(The unpaid balance of these bonds were called and resold. April 1, 1940, at the low interest rates of 1%% and 2%. This interest reduction was made possible by the large net earnings shown by
Bonds owned by the Department................$ 71,000.00
Bonds owned by others........................$428,000.00
Total Bonds Outstanding.........................$499,000.00
Added to Capital Account........................$410,469.93
(Additions in equipment at the plant and in the distribution system have increased the output capacity of the plant from the original of 3.000 kilowatt hours to 7,000 kilowatt hours.)
Present Total Value of Property...............$1,155,469.93
From the time the plant started producing current in 1936 until April 30, 1942, the equity of the City has grown from nothin? to.......
Profit Record Net
May, 1935 to May, 1936 .
May, 1936 to May, 1937 .
May, 1937 to May, 1938 .
May, 1938 to May. 1939 . . .
May, 1939 to May, 1940 .
May, 1940 to May, 1941 .
May, 1941 to May, 1942 .
. $ 42,189.79 $ 59,538.03 $ 71,102.72 $ 81,112.52 : $ 94,017.76 $ 91,451.51 $100,803.68
Municipally Owned and Operated .. .
this light and power plant is offering its patrons electric service at one of the
lowest rates in the nation and is still earning increased dividends each year as the accompanying table of net profits reveals. Milling and manufacturing concerns will find power rates conducive to their location here.
Existing lap Electrical couipmcnt BAYS
In the research of building codes of the time, perhaps we can better understand the overall design of our historic buildings.
The Power Plant Building, constructed in 1935-36, came under the regulations of the Building Code of the City of Fort Collins, adopted in 1924, printed in 1925, and amended thereafter.
The power plant was considered a class F building; regula tions were as follows:
Floor Loads (live)
Pounds per Square Foot
Exclusion of Partitions: Ground, lower, upper 250 pf
Roof Loads (live)
Pitch of Less than 20 degrees 40 pfs
Every column, post or other vertical support shall be of sufficient strength to bear safely the combined live and dead loads transmitted to it.
No reduction of live load on columns shall be permitted in buildings where the assumed floor load is more than 150 pounds per square foot and is likely to be permanent in character,
as in warehouses, printing houses, machine shops,
For structures carrying machinery, such as cranes, conveyors, printing presses, etc., at least 25 percent shall be added to the stresses from live loads to provide for effect of impact and vibra-tins.
Loads on Existing Floors
If and when required by the Building Inspector, the owners of existing buildings of Classes E and F shall have the weight that each floor will safely sustain computed by a competent person. Such computations shall be filed with the Building Inspector with an affidavit by the person making the same, in such manner as the Building Inspector with an affidavit by the person making the same, in such manner as the Building Inspector may direct and shall give full information on which the computations are based. When the safe live loads on any existing floor thus ascertained has been approved by the Building Inspector, he shall post one or more copies of such approved live load in such conspicuous place or places on each story as may be designated by the Building Inspector and no floor shall be loaded in excess of the safe allowance mentioned in said posted copy.
Fireproof Construction Class F
Inside Semi-Fireproof Type II Outside Fire Resistive Type III
This type of construction shall conform with the requirements for Fireproof Construction, except as follows:
Column shall be of steel, cast iron or reinforced concrete. Steel or cast iron columns shall be protected by a covering of not less than 1 1/2 inches of Portland cement plaster on expanded metal lath, except that the extreme outer edges of lugs, brackets, and similar supporting metal may project to within one inch of the outer surface of projection
Floors and Roofs shall be properly supported on struc tural steel framing, or masonry walls, and may be constructed as follows:
0 Reinforced concrete slabs on steel lumber joists
Reinforced concrete slabs on structural steel.
Joists shall be designed to resist all stresses independent of any protective covering.
Heights and Areas
No building or structure hereafter erected, except church spires, water towers, smoke stacks or chimneys,
shall exceed In height two and one-half times the width of the widest street upon which it fronts, nor shall it exceed the following limits.
Semi-Fireproof, and Fire-resistive buildings used for factories, stores, warehouses or workshops .
Height in Stores Height in Feet
All buildings in Classes A, B, C, D, and Light and Power Stations .... No restrictions as to area.
Chain of Title
The Fort Collins Municipal Power Plant
Location: Portion of Lot number 3 in the reservation on the
northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 7 north of Range 69 west of the Sixth Principal Meridian in Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado.
Present Occupant: The City of Fort Collins, Colorado
Present Use: With the exception of working interior switch-
gear connected to an outdoor substation, the former Municipal Power Plant is unoccupied. All generating equipment has been removed. The structure has approximately 26,000 square feet of floor space on three levels: basement, 12,900 square feet; main floor, 12,500 square feet and third floor, 1,200 square feet. The City of Fort Collins and other interested parties are exporing alternate uses of the building. In its Poroposal for Power Plant Development, "The City is open to all offers from direct purchase, leases with or without purchase options, condominium type purchasing and/or development, or a combination of these, and other innovative proposals."
Statement of Significance: The Fort Collins Municipal Light Plant was the culmination of local interest in a municipally owned generation facility that dated back to at least 1912. Abortive efforts were made that year and again in 1931 to implement such plans. Beginning in early 1932, dissatisfaction with high Public Service Company rates led to a pair of decisions resulting in the formation of a municipal light and power department and subsequent plant construction, both in the year 1935. Commencing partial operation on 15 May 1936, the facility was fully on line the first of June that same year under the management of G. H. Palmes. The installation was described at the time as a notable example of its kind, with advanced high-pressure steam generating equipment for unusual efficiency of operation. The plant was operated profitably by the City of Fort Collins until the year 1973. On the tract of land described under Location are several other structures: some out-buildings, a Centennial monument (1964-1964) commemorating Camp Collins, a rock-garden and an art deco stone fountain.
Historical Information: Original and subsequent owners: the
following is an incomplete chain of title to the land on which the plant now stands. Reference is to the office of the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder.
1872: United States Receiver's Receipt dated 11 November 1872
and recorded 18 November 1872 in Book E, page 136 ("Received from Andrew Cowan of Larimer County, Colorado, the Sum of 239 dollars and 94 cents; being in full for the Sl/4 of NEl/4 of Sec 11 and Lot 3 inside Reservation and Lot 3 outside Reservation of North West quarter of Section No. 12 in Township No. 7 North of Range No. 69 West, containing 177 acres and 19 hundredths at $1.25 per acre for 167 43/100 acres and $2.50 per acre for 14 46/100 acres $239.94")
United States (C. H. McLaughlin, Receiver) to
1877: Deed dated 9 August 1877 and recorded 16 August 1877
in Book G, page 520 ("All that part of Lot 3 inside of reservation that lies north of a line drawn from a point at the NE corner of the SE1/4 of the NEl/4 of Section 11, Township 7 N, of Range 69 West, thence easterly on a line parallel with the South boundary line of said Lot 3 within the reservation 8 rods, thence North to the Cache La Poudre River, thence in a Northwesterly direction along to the section line dividing Sections 11 and 12 of T 7 N, R 69 W, thence South along said section line between said sections 11 and 12 to
Quit Claim Deed dated 18 November 1902 and recorded 19 November 1902 in Book 151, page 370 (" strip of land across Block J of the City of Fort Collins situated in the NW1/4 of Section 12, Township 7 N, Range 69 W of 6th P. M., before a strip of land 100 feet in width, fifty feet on either side of the following described line commencing at a point on the west side of Section 12 1112 3/10 feet south of the NW corner thereof, thence N56 degrees, 40 minutes E to the west line of said Block J and place of beginning, thence continuing N56 degrees 40 minutes E 850 feet, more or less, to the south bank of the Cache La Poudre River, containing two acres more or less ")
Marietta Cowan to
The Fort Collins Development Railway Company
1903: Warranty Deed dated 6 March 1903 and recorded 6 March
1903 in Book 173, page 424 ("that portion of Lot 3 in the reservation on the northwest quarter (NW1/4) of Section 12, Township 7N of Range 69N of the 6th P. M., lying north and west of the right of way of the Fort Collins Development Railway Company, all being in Larimer County.")
Marietta Cowan to
Wallis A. Link
Applicable Building Code:
Uniform Building Code, 1982 Fire Zone Designation:
Zone 3 (Fort Collins, Colorado, has one fire zone.) Occupancy Classification:
Conference Rooms B-2
Library/Reading Room B-2
Location on Property:
All buildings housing Group B Occupancies shall front directly upon, or have access to a public street not less than 20 feet in width.
Type III, 1 hour,
Property setbacks requirements are met presently.
Maximum Height of Buildings:
A-l one story B-2 four stories
Required separation (in buildings of mixed occupancy)
A-3 and B-2 none
Allowable Floor Area
Type III 36,000 square feet Exits Required:
Based upon projected occupancy levels, two exists are needed. Access ramps for handicapped persons are required. Width: 6 feet (art center), 3 feet (studio)
Distance to Exits: Maximum distance from any point to
an exit 200 feet with sprinkler system.
Corridor Width: Not less than 44 inches Stairways: Construction: of any material permitted by code.
Width: 44 inches minimum Length: minimum 12 feet between landings
handrails are required on both sides Rise: not less than 4, or greater than 7 1/2 inches Run: not less than 10 inches
Guardrails: not less than 42 inches in height
not more than a 6-inch diameter sphere to pass through rails
Exterior Stairways: constructed of a noncombustible
Headroom: not less than 6 feet 6 inches Ramps: 1 to 15 slope, without a landing required
construction of any material permitted by code
Atriums: Allowed with automatic sprinkler system.
Enclosure of Atriums: Open exit balconies are permitted. Separation between tenant space and atrium may be omitted on a maximum of any three floor levels.
Travel Distance: When a required exit enters the atrium space, the travel distance from the doorway of the tenant space to an enclosed stairway, horizontal exit, exterior door or exit passageway shall not exceed 100 feet.
An elevator will be provided for handicap access in the art center building.
Required: one toilet for every three employees (Ft.
Access: width of door not less than 32 inches clear
space of not less than 44 inches on each side of access doors to toilet rooms. Clear space sufficient to inscribe a circle not less than five feet in diameter. Clear space not less than 42 inches wide and 48 inches long in front of at least one water closet stool.
Fire Zone Designation:
Maximum Height of Buildings:
R-3 three storeis Location on Property:
Fire Resistance of Exterior Walls:
1 hour less than 5 feet Openings in Exterior Walls: Not permitted less than 5 feet
Allowable Floor Area: Unlimited Exits Required:
Two exits are desirable, although code indicates one 3 feet by 6 feet 8 inches exit is required. Corridor Width: 36 inches Height: 7 feet
Stairways: 30 inches in width minimum
Handrails are required Rise: Not greater than 8 inches Run: Not less than 9 inches
Guardrails: Interior, not less than 36 inches in
Headroom: Not less than 6 feet 6 inches
Escape Windows: From all sleeping areas, net clear opening of 5.7 square feet, net clear opening height, 24 inches, width 20 inches, not more than 44 inches above the floor.
Light and Ventilation Minimums
Habitable spaces 10% of floor area Ventilated at least one-twentieth of floor area Mechanical ventilation five air changes per hour Room Dimensions:
Ceiling Height: Not less than 7 feet 6 inches in habitable spaces
Other Areas: Not less than 7 feet
Floor Area: Not less than 150 square feet in
at least one room
Habitable Rooms: Not less than 70 square feet Width: Not less than 7 feet
Smoke Detector: Required Toilets: Access to Water Closets:
Clear space of 30 inches wide Clear space in front of 24 inches
The City of Fort Collins has recommended guidelines for parking, prepared by the city planning division. The recommendation for this project is approximately 3.5 spaces per 1000 square feet of art center and studio.
The housing project will exceed requirements at two spaces per unit.
The quality of the place will attract people to it. From the main access, the power plant building may leave one with an impression of formality, and that if an event did indeed take place within its walls, one might require an invitation.
This is not to imply the formal general nature of the facade must change, but rather a statement leading to a possible design implications as the building is transformed. It presently may be perceived as:
a gate a symbol
a testament to a former time A more polite, restrained public street facade may give way in contrast to, a vibrant, lively, protected activity side.
A sense of sequential flow may have to prevail, with the objective to pull people inside, or to the inner court-private area of the site, a micro-world where activities take place. There must be some way, however, of incicating to the passer-by what occurs.
a celebration a performance a discovery
There exists the concept of a crucial tie in the mixed-use development. What will make the separate uses relate?
An element or link will have to prevail in the overall concept. The river maintains a strong physical association with the sites already.
In conjunction with this idea of physical association is the requirement of a housing development to provide privacy. One aspect of a link may be the apparent sense of connection, but with degrees of "inside," responding to the special housing needs.
The street elevation exhibits a central, constantly visible, frontal approach.
The approach is a lengthy one, and a sensation of anticipation results.
The entrance is not large in realtion to the overall street facade. The scale is relative to human scale, as in the vestibule, once inside
The entrance remains flush with the street facade with slight relief, elevation, and contrast to mark it.
The entrance to the east (rear), visually appears as part of the existing dominant expanse of glass slightly recessed into the brick facade.
Circulation is vertically defined on the interior by stairways to three levels. The circulation space on the third level is a defined, open on one side in effect, corridor, open to the first level.
Paths are relatively undefined; however, entrances dictate a somewhat symmetrical axial path as they presently exist.
The building stands as a distant, yet quite dominant form on the site as perceived from the street.
The horizontal planes are stepped and elevated, visually separating them from the plane of the ground.
The elevated planes further define a transitional space between exterior and interior, at the street level.
The overall Ziggurat form may even suggest a ceremonial feeling, as did the temple towers of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians.
Objectives of the Program
To aid the users in anticipating the needs of the various facilities.
o To provide the designer with a concise list of needs, translatable into a set of design criteria.
To aid in a response to the design criteria, translating said criteria into relationships, sizes, concept, and place.
It will be important to identify what makes this art center studio and condominium development special, in terms of the needs, and the specifics of the site.
Immediate Needs Phase I
Storm Entrance (double access)
Parking Access Road
Light Control (window)
Spaces Phase I
Gallery Spaces children, formal Entry Space
Men's/Ladies' Lavatories Gift Shop Display/Sales Desk Reception
Seating Area public lounge
Future Wants Phase II
Roof Garden Access Safety Ralls for Roof Turnstiles
Climate Controlled Galleries Landscaping
Security to Close Off East Side Side of Building After Hours
Stairway to Second Level Dining Terrace
Pedestals, Display Case Systems
Permanent Founders Wall
Access to Restaurant Northside Terraces through Building
Gallery Walks North Stairways
Extend Second Level Walkways/ North Stairs
Spaces Phase II
Bridge Walks Storage Vault
Full-Service Kitchen (north)
Indoor/Outdoor Restaurant (nor
South Bridge Library Lounge
Riverfront Terraces, Walkways
Corporate Lease Gallery Sculpture Park Members Lounge Children's Playground
Facility Director Budget and Planning Comptroller Secretarial Bookkeeping Program Director Exhibitions
Education Adults/Children Information Center Docents Training Staffs
Gift Shop Info Desk Coat/Check Showroom Library C.A.R. Records Volunteer Coordinator Security Services Sales
Development Director Grants Writing Membership Corp./Special
Exhibitions Catering Competitions Special Events Publications
Children's Progams (gallery/classes)
Corporate Lease Art Outdoor Activities Booking
High Tech/Art & Industry
Volunteer Recruitment (service clubs/orgs.)
Corporate Contributions Memberships Special Affairs Sales:
Gift Shop Art Showroom % Restaurant Sales % Catering % Vending Machines % Outside Vendors Rentals:
Conference/Lectures Arts Conventions Festivals/Fairs Art Expos Classes/Workshops Classrooms Teaching Studios Admissions:
Special Exhibitions Special Events Film Series Performances
Membership Benefits Discounts Travel Packages Airline PR Bus Tours Museum Circuits
Tourist/Business/Industry Co-Sponsor Programs Poudre R-l CSU
Activities Concerns Facts
Viewing Art Close range viewing View three-dimensional pieces Progression
Flexible Space Encounters
Reception Lighting Image
Coat Checking Acoustics Plumbing/Service Co
Telephoning Rest Room Access Security
Food Preparation Loading Storage Serving Function
Dining Acoustics Active
Sales Comfortable Display
Loading/Crating/Unloading Access Function
Drawing Storage Plumbing Lighting Media
Telephoning Bookkeeping Isolated
Required Square Footage
Basement Sq. Ft.
Locker Storage 63 lin. ft
Photo Studio 437
Subtotal 8721 sq. ft.
Children's Museum 1243
Lockable Display 21 lin. ft
First Floor (continued) Sq. Ft.
Gift Shop/lnformation 622
Subtotal 5885 sq. ft
Members Lounge 1020
Art Library 233
Lockable Display 44 lin. f
Subtotal 5036 sq. ft
Gallery Gallery Roof Studio Roof Garden
4364 sq. ft
Total Square Footage
Required Square Footage
Studio/Work Area 1000 sq. ft
Toilet 30 sq. ft
Storage 20 sq. ft
Because the housing site of approximately 2.8 acres falls within the cities designated floodway, only half, or approximately 1.4 acres can be considered buildable area:
Density 8 units per acre
Total 8,400 sq. ft.
Parking requirements listed in the Fort Collins Code, 2 bedroom dwelling unit 1.75 spaces
Space requirements for each unit are as follows:
(2) Two bedrooms, 1200 sq. feet
2 two-bedroom units @ 1200 sq. ft. 6 two-bedroom units @ 1000 sq. ft.
Master Bedroom 200
(6) Two bedrooms, 1000 sq. ft.
Master Bedroom 190
Storage and circulation space is included in each listed area.
Each unit will include covered parking and outdoor living space accessed from the main living areas.
,/8- . y-y
This thesis involves the process of transition. A site which had been developed in 1936, remained largely untouched since that time.
The changes that took place around the site progressed with limited relation to the existing structure and river front area. The thesis statement formulated at the start of the project, included the contention that the ongoing process of transition, so evident in the general vicinity of the site, would be greatly influenced by the adaptive re-use of the building and the site. A further contention was that the solution would have to provide a link or visible relationship to influence development in all directions due to the influential and pivotal nature of the site.
In view of the fact that the Visual Arts Center is a viable project, and the adaptive re-use of the building has been aproved by the City of Fort Collins, time will reveal the feasibility of the center and grounds acting as an initial influence to bring activity to the river once again.
This thesis solution addresses the more measurable contention as stated above, in that a visible link, in the form of a physical connection and material and form relationship in the residential development, demonstrates the possibility of that direct relationship reading as an identifiable link. It can be further stated that such a literal link may not be required to achieve the same evidence of relationship.
Although only one physical aspect of connection was explored to the north of the site, it is again evident that there are many facets of the problem, or specifically, surrounding sites to be addressed. The
success of the Power Plant Visual Arts Center, this writer believes, will be in part measured by the way in which it successfully integrates future development adjacent to it, it's relationship to downtown, and the Cache La Poudre River.
^Oswald Mathias Ungers, Architecture As Theme, (Rizzoli, 1983), p. 13.
Don Vlack, Art Deco Architecture in New York, (New York, Harper and Row, 1974), p. 5.
Brent C. Brolin, Architecture in Context, (New York,
Van Nostrant Reinhold, 1980), p. 12.
H. W. Janson, History of Art, (New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1969), p. 529.
'Vlack, Art Deco Architecture in New York, p. 12.
6Ibid., p. 59.
^Cervin Robinson and Rosemarie Haog Pletter, Skyscraper Style Art Deco, (New York, Oxford University Press, 1975), p. 41.
Abbott, Scott. Report on "Chain of Title for the Fort Collins
Power Plant." Fort Collins, Colorado, . (typewritten).
Brolin, Brent C., Architecture in Context. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980.
Ching, Francis D. K., Architecture: Form, Space and Order.
New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979.
Etter, Don P., Denver Going Modern. Boulder, Colorado,
Geographic Impressions, Inc., 1977.
Ferris, Hugh, Power in Buildings. New York, Columbia Press,
Janson, H. W., History of Art. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall,
Lobell, John, Between Silence and Light. Boulder, Colorado, Shambhala Press, 1979.
Menten, Theodore, The Art Deco Style. New York, Dover Publications, 1972.
Smith, Curt. Planning Director, City of Fort Collins,
Colorado. Interview, 10 August 1984.
Spencer, Rosalyn. Horizons Gallery Director. Ft. Collins, Colorado. Interview, 12 August 1984.
Robinson, Cervin and Bletter, Rosemarie, Skyscraper Style Art Deco. New York, Oxford University Press, 1975.
Ungers, Oswald Mathias, Architecture As Theme Electra/Rippoli, 1983.
Venturi, Robert, Complexity and Contradiction New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1977
Vlack, Don, Art Deco Architecture in New York and Row, 1974.
New York, in Architecture.
New York, Harper