ARCHITECTURAL THESIS PREPARATION Fall 1980 Thomas Harry
En Des Thesis Arch 1980
I have chosen Jfclw challenging inner city project for my graduate architecture thesis. It consists of two city blocks in the center of downtown Denver. Both blocks have fascinated me ever since I first came to Denver to be in architecture school, and I used to think about what should be built there. Since then, Block 230 has been developed and now two twin towers occupy it. In the near future, Block 209 will be the site of the tallest skyscraper in Denver.
I have chosen these two blocks together because, from an architectural standpoint, I think they should have been treated together. The same developer owns both blocks, and the same architect was commissioned for both blocks. Financial realities and timing made an integrated design impossible. In spite of this, I have submitted a master plan for both blocks as if I were the architect, and all the pieces fit -- money, intelligence, planning, and timing. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but my major concern at this time is to challenge and demonstrate my abilities in design, not finance. I have chosen my urban project because I love the city with the tall buildings, people, and activity. I love to see construction on a large scale, and I want to design on this scale professionally. I hope that my architecture is better than what exists. I was fortunate to live my childhood in the wilderness, in some of the great national parks of America. My interest in the city might seem peculiar. I hope that I have something of value to offer. My thesis project is a beginnig of my architectural involvement with the city.
I have titled the project "The Denver Vertex Development" because it stands at the termination of 16th and 17th Streets, the retail and financial spines of downtown Denver. It is at the intersection of the two major street grids that constitute Denver, Colorado. It also stands at what will be the summit and apex of the Denver skyline.
This concept of a vertex of activity and architectural meaning must serve as an inspiration for all aspects of my thesis design.
Thesis Advisory Board
G.K. Vetter, Professor of Architecture University of Colorado, Denver
Chester Nagel, Professor of Architectur University of Colorado, Denver
Eugene Benda, Professor of Architecture University of Colorado, Denver
Jim Nordlie, Designer Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Bob Kellner, Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Masa Suzuki, Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
John Boekelman, Structural Engineer Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Work Schedule for the Semester
The scope of this plan is so large that I will have to concentrate on only two of the segments for design development. I will develop segments number one and two for my thesis presentation in May. I will develop the other segments schematically to clarify the architectural form as it relates to the urban plan. The following graph shows how I intend to accomplish this work by presentation time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Social Impact of the Project Existing Social Character and Land Use The Prospects Mixed Use Development Quality of Lif
Supply and Demand Economic Competition Financing/Preliminary Cost of Economical Architecture Construction
Topographical Significance of the Site
VII. Soil Composition HYDROLOGY
VIII. Water Table CLIMATE
IX. Heating and Cooling Energy CODES
X. Zoning Codes Building Codes UTILITIES
XI. TRAFFIC CIRCULATION
XII. SCHEMATIC MASTER PLAN
Isometr ic Site Plan
Project Components Master Plan Description
XIII. PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SITE
XIV. THESIS DESIGN
Site Plans Building Plans Site Elevations Perspectives
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The site is located in downtown Denver on the area known as Block 209 and Block 230. It is bounded by 16th Street, 17th Street, Tremont Place and Broadway.
The project will have a great impact on the central business district of Denver. The increased population, traffic, and the new activities generated will dramatically change the character of this part of town. Denver is currently experiencing the most rapid growth in its history, and a great deal of this growth is happening downtown. The character of the city has changed more in the last two years than it has in the last twenty, and the impact of it will last for generations. It is my aim to impact the city of Denver in a significant and beneficial way that improves the quality of life in the city as much as possible, and to design this project so as to insure its position as a vital part of the city of Denver in the future.
Large scale, multi-block developments in the central city always create difficult problems because they bring enormous numbers of people and concentrate them in the smallest area possible. Transportation and service problems become nearly impossible to deal with in an effective way. Particular attention must be given these problems because they directly bear on the quality of life of the users. I intend to consider alternatives to the present insufficient solutions.
The impact of this project must be examined from many different points of view. What follows is a verbal summary of the background information pertinent to the site, of the project, and of Denver itself. From this information it is possible to arrive at a proper understanding of the site and to decide what architectural objectives are desired and appropriate for this development.
17th Street has been called the Wall Street of the west. Blocks 209 and 230 lie at the vertex of this booming financial district. This activity has dramatically changed the context of the central business district of Denver. Serveral large office towers have recently been completed, many are still under construction, and there are many more in the planning stage. Some of these towers along 17th and 18th Streets will rise above 40 and 50 stories.
While the 17th Street side of the project has a decided office building character, the 16th Street side is, and will probably remain to be, retail and commercially oriented. The character of the shopping environment along 16th Street should improve greatly when the 16 th Street Mall is completed in late 1981. This Mall is planned to be pedestrian oriented, but to
incorporate electric buses which will shuttle people back and forth to the major transportation terminals which are to be built at the ends of the Mall. The Mall will be landscaped and paved with granite. The 16th Street Mall should attract a large amount of pedestrian activity and encourage people to remain in the city after work hours and on weekends. The context of 16th Street should remain similar to what it is now, but with a more enjoyable environment. The Vertex project should serve as a connection between the low scale retail environment of 16th Street and the high rise financial character of 17th Street and Broadway.
The character and the context of this area is destined to change significantly in the next year. The following is a list of some of the projects that will have an impact on the Vertex site. See the following page for a map of the area.
Block 3 and Block 30: The United Bank Building and
Galleria project. Will contain banking, office space, restaurants, and retail. 1,000,000 square feet, approximately 50 stories.
Block 4, Amoco Tower: Offices, banking, restaurant.
70,000 square feet, 36 stories.
Block 5, Regional Transportation District Terminal: To
serve as the southeastern terminus of the 16th Street Mall shuttle system and departure point for Denver's city buses. In addition to the transportation facilities, the project will contain shops, restaurants, and office space. If the city chooses to build a rail transportation system in the future, this would serve as a major terminal.
Block 195, 410 Building: Recently completed office
building with one retail store. 500,000 square feet, 22 stories.
Block 231, Larkin Building: This building will take the place of the Centre Theater on 16th Street. Offices. 20 stories.
The context of the city in the vicinity of the Vertex site is in a state of flux. The developments that are being built will have a permanent effect on the city and the activities that are conducted there. In my opinion, the changes are bittersweet. On one hand, they demonstrate an incredible spirit of success and optimism. The scale of building here is dynamic celebrating the future of the new west. But with fast development comes some gross failures. The context of Denver has suffered, especially from the point of view of the pedestrian. The projects are rarely user oriented, and they do not respond to the regional and urban characteristics that constitute the context of Denver, Colorado.
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The most notable architectural landmark in the area is the Brown Palace Hotel, which occupies the small triangular site at the corner of Broadway and 17th Street. The hotel was designed by Frank E. Edbrook, and the Brown Palace enjoys good business and supports a number of shops and restaurants. The building plan
is organized around a delightful central atrium space that is topped by a large stained glass skylight. If my project can incorporate some of the same elegant spirit as this interior space, it would be a great success. Denverites are very proud of this building and, although it occupies a site that could be developable for a much higher profit, the possessiveness of the Denver public makes the demolition of the Brown Palace unlikely.
As one stands on Tremont Place and looks down the street to the northeast, one sees the Trinity Methodist Church designed by Robert Roeschlaub and built in 1887. From this vantage point, the Trinity Church is an important part of the sense of place one feels. This view is also one of the most historically
affected views in the city with the Brown Palace to the right
and the Trinity Church beyond.
The Republic Building on Block 209 along 16th Street is another example of an earlier style of Denver architecture. The
Republic was completed in 1927, and it exhibits a neo-gothic style. Some of the exterior detailing is interesting, and the structure is undoubtedly sturdy enough to last for many more years. The building is well used by the community. The
developer would prefer, however, to demolish the Republic and replace it with new office and retail. A brief study should be made on the cost of renovation of the Republic versus a new
building. The fact that the Republic Building exists as a visual landmark on 16th Street might indicate the Vertex project should retain the building to maintain some continuity with the existing urban fabric.
Two other buildings of note are part of Denver's more recent history. The existing United Bank tower building was completed in 1955 and designed by I.M. Pei. This building is admired by the architectural community for its beautiful curtain wall design which fits very well in Denver.
I.M. Pei also designed the other building of note that stands across 16th Street from the Vertex site. The Hilton hotel, completed in 1960, is a strong visual landmark at this end of downtown. The Hilton has an exterior skin of precast concrete. The strong form of the building as a long thin slab is broken up by the concentrated articulation of the fenestration. The Hilton, like the Brown Palace, is successful year around. On the lower levels the Hilton has a number of shops and restaurants and some large conference rooms and ballrooms. When government officials and visiting dignitaries come to Denver, they usually stay in the Hilton and use the Hilton's facilities for press conferences and meetings. The Hilton is a source of
night and year-round activity. There should be a strong functional relation between the Vertex project and the Hilton in that the two must work together to further the quality of life and activity along the 16th Street Mall.
It is not the rule at this end of town to try to renovate existing buildings. The land values are too high for this to be a consideration in most cases. The old buildings are demolished and replaced by office towers. The United Bank galleria is a renovation of sorts (see photo). It will attract a large number of people to this part of town, mostly because of the large new office structure, which will begin in 1981.
SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE PROJECT
The Vertex project will have a significant social impact on downtown Denver and on the rest of Denver as well. The floor area ratio to the size of the site allows an approximate 1,600,000 square foot increase in buildable space over what presently exists. The occupancy can be expected to increase by at least 4,500 people. As a result, the social makeup of this part of downtown will change dramatically. Whether this impact is to be beneficial or detrimental depends on the design goals of the project. The social character of the complete project will be determined by how these goals are reached. Is the design to integrate with the existing social character or not? If not, what will the new social character be? What will be the consequences of this new view, and will it be valid in the future?
EXISTING SOCIAL CHARACTER AND QUALITY OF LIFE
The significant existing social features revolve around the fact that downtown Denver is the financial marketplace of the city and region. The social interactions that take place here are supportive to these business activities. People commute to work downtown from their homes in the suburbs and after work they commute back to the suburbs. They might eat and shop during this time, but they return home at night leaving hotel guests, entertainment seekers, and a sprinkling of residents to occupy the city.
The existing life quality is fairly good. The existing land use map shows the variety of activities offered in the neighborhood. The local bars, hotels and restaurants keep the area relatively populated during the night, but the neighborhood is by no means lively. By far, the most activity happens during the work day when the local office towers are occupied and the stores are open. After the completion of the 16th Street Mall, it is expected that business will intensify and include more hours of the day. The quality of the businesses along the Mall should improve as well. Already many of the low quality and struggling businesses are moving out of 16th Street due to renovation projects and demolition. More established businesses seem to be ready to take advantage of the congenial leisure and shopping environment that the Mall will provide. The coming of the Mall and the rise of Denver as an important financial center have dramatically increased the value of the land downtown, indicating how desirable it is for business to locate downtown. Blocks 209 and 230 are destined to be developed to the maximum allowed by the zoning code. The value of the result bears on the goals of everyone involved with the project the developer, the users, the city government, and the citizenry.
TREMONT (400) PL.
If the current building boom continues, Denver will become a vast megalopolis. Whether the quality of Denver as a city can ever measure up to the great cities of America and the world depends heavily on the quality of the developments that are erected in Denver during this boom. This in turn depends upon the developer's, the business's, and the citizen's perception of the city. If these groups took pride in the city, its functions, future, and architecture, then the building boom would result in a higher quality of life in the city. Two regrettable factors indicate that this attitude will be hard to adh ieve here in Denver. Many of Denver's biggest developers are from out-of-town, and their work is typical of the single-minded outlook of most speculative developers. Pride and creation are not part of their vocabulary. Perhaps the same can be said of the majority of Denver's citizenry. People usually take an uncaring attitude towards the city. They endorse no plan which would guide the new development of the city. Planners, architects, and people with a vision of the future are not well respected, and their opinions have little effect.
MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT
One of the basic objectives of my thesis project is to diversify the activity that occurs in downtown Denver, and to extend this activity around the clock. A major justification of this concept is the fact that we cannot continue to commute the distance from home to work. It is inefficient and a poor use of resources. In addition, life in suburbia is not as rich as people thought it would be. For these and other reasons, we are experiencing the return of people to the inner city to live. In lower downtown, eight blocks from the Vertex site, several condominium projects are in progress that will increase the number of residential units by 2,250.
Five blocks to the southwest, a developer has purchased all of the blocks between Colfax Avenue, Stout Street, and Broadway for the purpose of residential and commercial development. On Capitol Hill to the south and to the north of Colfax Avenue, new apartment complexes and renovations are improving the quality of the residential neighborhoods and increasing the residential density. (See following page for residential land use map.)
The resident population of downtown Denver is growing, and these people will be seeking a more vital urban environment in which to conduct business, relax, and live. Hence, the concept of the downtown mixed-use development. The mixed-use development is characterized by a pattern of inter-relationships between all of the functions that go on in a city. This results in a more continuously populated, lively and safe environment for the city dweller. The concept is not new. It has been tried in many cities with varied success. I chose this particular site and a mixed-use approach because the social, topographical and urban parameters that impact the site are so varied, but each in
themselves too strong to ignore. The Vertex project, because of its location, should become a vital synthesis of the activities and potential spirit that constitute Denver, Colorado.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
The demand for office, commercial and retail space in the downtown area is very high at this time. Local occupancy dates for office buildings are in excess of 95%, and leases are currently reaching $25.00 per square foot in some areas, with an average downtown price of about $15.00 per square foot. This demand is expected to continue well into the future or until downtown Denver becomes saturated with office space.
There is demand for office space that can be adapted to the range of client needs. Buildings with floor plates of varied sizes should be considered. Larger firms and growing firms need to sometimes spread operations horizontally as well as
vertically. Smaller firms, of which Denver seems to be
attracting in the petroleum and geotechnical fields, require small floor plates, or larger floor plates that can be
subdivided and then taken up during the grown of the firm.
Demand is currently high for food, goods, and entertainment for the working population. There is currently very high demand for such activities during the day, but leveling off at night while current demand is dominated by the diurnal habits of the working population. I believe that the city can expect a strong demand for the same activities from the growing downtown residential population in the near future.
The demand for office space at this location is currently so high that competition is not yet an issue. As this demand levels off, tenants will become more selective in choosing office space. If the developer intends to retain the investment of the building for a longer period of time, it is my opinion that construction, materials, image, amenities and maintenance should be of the highest quality.
Competition for retail space is currently stiffer than that for office space. Most retail operations in the area appear healthy, and the increasing development and renovation of the 16th Street Mall will provide some competition for the retail sections of the Vertex project. It should not be forgotten that the Vertex project occupies two blocks adjacent to one of the most active parts of the Mall. The retail operations of the Vertex project should, by virtue of their location, find great success. It should be the designer's responsibility and objective to design the most appealing and operable retail space in the city. This will insure success for the retail tenants of the Vertex project.
FINANCING/PRELIMINARY COST OF CONSTRUCTION
Office Space: Cost/Square Foot = $70.00 $130.00
For a range of quality between average and superior.
Every effort will be made to respect the needs of all parties concerned with this project, including the owner and his budget. In most developments of this kind, the budget is a low constant. Such designs can be managable if the design process includes a rational exploration of the needs and parameters of the users. Proper identification of these issues will lead to getting the most with the least. Economy of detail, meaning simplicity with elegance will result in the sound assembly of components with the least cost.
TOPOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SITE
The Rocky Mountains are the most significant natural feature in the region, 20 miles west of downtown Denver the rises from an elevation of 5,000 feet to roughly 14,000 feet above sea level. Even from certain spots in downtown Denver, one is able to get an excellent view of the Continental Divide. From the taller buildings downtown, this view is uninterrupted and dramatic. The Rocky Mountains, because of their proximity and grandeur, define the regional sense of place that Denverites feel. Like any prominent topographical feature would, it defines Denver's place on the globe. Any architecture, especially that of a
large scale, must respond to the spirit of these mountains.
They could inspire form with a tall building, or the architecture can lay low and offer a view through to the mountains. The Vertex site lays at the heart of the most vertical part of the city. The Rockies will serve as a backdrop for the taller buildings on the site and, they will be a major factor in the orientation of buildings and plazas toward the view, and within the view of people to the east of downtown.
The other major topographical feature affecting Denver is the shifted street grid that occurs along Broadway. This has
inspired some of Denver's best architecture. The Brown Palace and the new Amoco Tower are excellent examples. Like the
mountains, the 45 degree grid change establishes a strong sense of place, especially at the corners of 16th, 17th and 18th Streets, where the city is the most dense. While the mountains define the existential character of Denver within the continent and region, the shifted grid particularizes the sense of place as a special environment in the city. The grid change will
heavily determine the architectural orientation of my project. What remains is to create urban "micro-topographies" which define the smaller, people-oriented spaces within the city. These are the architectural features which define man's existence within the city. They are derived from user needs and all of the characteristics of the surrounding natural and man-made environment. Unfortunately, there are few new
developments in downtown Denver that have succeeded in
incorporating the significant aspects of place in their designs. They have little relation to the contextual meaning of Denver on a regional, urban, pedestrian or interior level. A major objective of this project will be to determine what this contextual meaning is, topographically and other, and to express it well in the design.
Man-made fill over medium dense to dense, clean to clayey and silty sands and gravels underlain by very hard claystone bedrock.
Depth of Bedrock At 60-65 feet.
Seismic Zone One, minor damage.
Free water levels found at depths of 36 to 37 feet with nearly 40 foot ground water fluxuation. It is thought by soils consultants that the ground water will rise to within 15 feet of the ground surface during wetter seasons. It is recommended that hydrostatic pressure be considered in design.
Because of its location on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, the climate in Denver is mild, sunny and semi-arid. During the winter, the city's high altitude and the mountains bordering to the west moderate temperatures. During the summer, cumulus clouds shade or provide afternoon showers, keeping temperatures below 90 degrees.
Heating and Cooling
6,016 heating degree days per year 625 cooling degree days
300 partial or totally sunny days per year
List of functions to be accommodated by the project.
A. Office Space
900,000 to 1,200,000 square feet net office space desired.
1. Service Area
Loading Dock: Accessible to service elevators.
Provide dock levelors and proper provision for turning and backing of trucks.
Trash Collection and Removal: Provide enclosed space for trash compactor. Compactor must be accessible for loading onto truck for removal.
Mail Room: Space for delivery, sorting and tenant
Office Lower Lobby Area
Office Directory Panel:
Directory of all tenants.
Control Desk: To accommodate one security guard, containing elevator control board, emergency fire alert board, security monitors.
Exhibition and lounge space.
3. Office Floor Space
Elevatoring: Service and passenger
B. Retail Space
1. Service Area
Loading dock Receiving office Trash collection Storage
Janitorial equipment storage Fire control room
Passenger elevatoring and escalators Storage space Restrooms, lounges Tailoring
Cold storage Dry storage
Kitchen: Hot preparation, pantry
Dressing rooms/employee restrooms Table area Guest restrooms Serving station areas Service access
Fast Food Restaurants
Employee dressing/restrooms Storage
Service access: Delivery and trash collection
Storage Small kitchen Bar preparation area Seating area
Service access: Delivery and trash collection
Sporting goods Copy shop Optometrist Galleries
Store Floor Area
Storage space Service access Employee restrooms Display areas
Seating area for 400 people Lobby
Concession stands Restrooms Projection room
Food display area Cold and dry storage Service access Checker stands
Delicatessen serving area, preparation area Small seating area
C. Residential Space
80+ apartment/condominium units of 3 sizes
1. 2 and 1 Bedroom Units
Entry hall Kitchen Utility area Storage
Living area/studio Bedroom: One or two Bath: One or two
Living/sleeping area Dining/kitchen Bathroom Closet storage
4. Residential Lobby
Security desk Mail room Lounge
5. Recreation Area/Meeting Area
Sauna and Jacussi
Party room and leisure room
6. Mechanical Rooms
7. Service Area
Service/delivery dock and elevator Trash collection: Compactor
1 space per unit
Secured parking by attendant
Basketball/volleyball court Handball/racquetball: 5 courts
Squash: Two courts
Weight room Floor exercise 2 classrooms Equipment checkout Administrative office Storage
Men's lockers, restrooms, sauna Women's lockers, restrooms, sauna Sunning area
Character and Significance of the Relation Between Proposed Activities.
Each activity will be oriented within the complex to respect the basic character of the site. Office space will concentrate along 17th Street and Broadway. Retail and residential will occupy the 16th Street side of the site, which is pedestrian oriented. There will be a strong pedestrian connection between the two sides of the site to attempt to generate a flow of activity between 16th and 17th Streets.
Function will be further defined by some sort of vertical ordering of activity. This will be determined by examining the particular functions and their requirements.
Patterns of Use
The Vertex project will attempt to generate activity for as many hours of the day as is possible. However, times of use for the activities will vary. The importance of this will be reflected in what part needs of security will play in the master plan layout;
Time and Duration of Activities:
18 Hour Activity 12 Hour Activity
Residential Complex Security Installations Convenience Store Parking
Department Store Retail Stores Cinema Bars
IMPACT OF EXISTING FUNCTIONS AND ADJACENT FUNCTIONS
The Republic Building will be the only existing function located on the site to have a decided effect on the project. The building will most likely be retained and renovated for similar functions as it already serves, presuming good structural conditions exist and that existing floor configurations and ceiling heights are not too difficult to deal with.
Functions that exist on adjacent land will affect my problem in that they will provide a clientele for many of the activities and services that will happen in the Vertex project. A proper functional relationship must occur between the Vertex project and these adjacent functions. Major entrances and pathways through the site should relate to:
1. 16th Street Mall: Hilton and May D&F.
2. Tremont/17th Street Intersection: Brown Palace and 410
Building; as well as the rest of 17th Street.
17th and Broadway Intersection: Galleria and Tower.
Amoco Tower, United Bank
16th and Broadway Intersection: Entrances, setbacks and
circulation must relate to the Colorado State Bank, the future RTD Transit Terminal and the 16th Street Mall (see traffic circulation map).
Tremont/Republic Entrance: A major entrance occurring
through the Republic Building from Tremont Street is contingent on the construction and interior plan of the building.
I. Block 209
Site Dimensions: 266' x 400' = 106,400 ft.2
F.A.R. Section 10-4(3)(a): Basic maximum gross floor area with 10 to 1 F.A.R. is 1,064,000 ft. 2 excluding parking and mechanical space.
Unenclosed Plaza = 12 square feet per 1 foot of site area. Enclosed Plaza = 5-1.
Unenclosed Arcade = 5-1.
Enclosed Arcade = 2.5-1
Atrium = 12:1 based on smallest horizontal area of lightwell.
II. Block 230
Total Area: 71,022 ft.2 at 10-1 F.A.R. = 710,220 maximum
Possible Premiums: Same as above.
F.A.R. is exchangeable from block to block based on the mutual agreement of the owners. Blocks 209 and 230 are owned by Oxford.
Total Basic F.A.R. = 1, 9M:99B fP:i
III. Cost of Air Rights: ?
MASTER PLAN DESCRIPTION
Segment number one is a sloping galleria containing retail, restaurants, public atriums and the office tower lobby. The galleria will be louvered to provide outside air ventilation. The glass galleria will cover 5 terraced floors which will continue along Broadway. The total area of segment one is approximately 55,000 square feet.
Rising from the Broadway galleria will be a 60,000 square foot office tower. At skyway level, the tower will be surrounded by a large plaza which will cross over Court Place to Block 209. Service entries to both sides will occur beneath this plaza/bridge. The plaza will then terrace down to the level of the 16th Street Mall. The area of the plaza is approximately
13.000 square feet at skyway level and 11,000 square feet at street level.
75.000 square feet of office space with a limited amount of commercial and retail space along 17th Street at the lower levels.
70-100 condominium units.
The Republic Building.
20.000 square feet of retail space.
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Tom Harry Thesis Proposal Instructor: G.K. Vetter
I have chosen a large scale project in Denver as the site of my graduate architecture thesis. The site consists of two city blocks
known as #209 and #230.
The scale of the project is such that my work will be devoted to design exploration in modes of living and urban form appropriate to the site and to the current and future needs of downtown Denver. I intend to treat this as a mixed use problem containing uses determined from a program of study done this semester during thesis preparation. My data will come from as many sources as possible --the Denver Planning Department, local developers, city dwellers, data from other cities, and from my own experience and imagination. The
program will reflect a strong idealism that I see lacking in many of Denver's newer developments. I intend to carry out this project as if the main goal of the city and developer is one of obtaining the most meaningful, best quality development possible. I believe that this site deserves this approach. It stands in a prominent position, visible in the skyline from anywhere around the city and from all major streets in the vicinity. Good quality buildings already exist nearby, both of modern and historical interest. It possesses a dramatic triangular site at the corner of Broadway and 17th Streets the most desirable commercial land in downtown Denver. The majority of both blocks are owned by the same developer, so it is possible to deal with both blocks as one entity.
My personal goal with this project is to design every building that I put on it. This is a lot of work, but certainly within my capacity. I want to see if I can design an urban center responsive to needs and spirit of the city -- to experiement with the forms, how the project is seen on the skyline, perceived from the street, and within. I intend to get into the construction aspects of the buildings as well, knowing how they will be built. Energy conservation and a philosophy of urban architecture not divorced from nature will be important issues as well.
The product of my thesis will be an architectural presentation including my program, schematic design, design development, final presentation drawings and a finished model.
This thesis will be a synthesis of my scholastic learnings and my professional experience. It will express my goals, my capabilities, and my ideals. It is a meaningful project for urban Denver and for myself. I look forward to my work ahead and to my presentation in May.
The following is a clarification of the scope of my thesis project.
These square footages are estimates based on what is allowed by the applicable zoning ordinances and required by the project program.
Commercial: 1,500,000 - 1,800,000 square feet
Residential: 90,000 - 130,000 square feet
Retail: 140,000 square feet
Total exluding parking and open space: 2,090,000 square feet Total area of the site: 177,500 square feet.
The scale of my project is approximately 2 million square feet. In spite of my high objectives, it would seem prudent that I state what degree of architectural completion that I expect to achieve by presentation time.
I will schematically design the entire project. Design development will focus on the lowr ten floors of the entire site, the exterior skin of each building on the site, and any other part of the project that I feel requires special attention.
The schedule that follows shows a timeline of the process that I will take from now until presentation time. I am on schedule and will have the master plan complete by December first.
VERTEX DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN
VERTEX DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN
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VERTEX DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN