Mini-golf at Zeckendorf Plaza
Mini-golf at Zeckendorf Plaza in front of the hyperbolic parabaloid.
Every winter this became an ice-skating rink.
March 16th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Tom Lundin
Women’s Club of Denver
Women’s Club of Denver designed 1962 by William Muchow Associates.
The building is still there on Lincoln between 9th & 10th.
March 16th, 2013 / 1 Comment » / by Tom Lundin
Red Coach Inn
The International-style Red Coach Inn on Colfax. Presumably built in the 1940s, this was
originally the Sundown Auto Motel. It might have changed a bit since then, but still has
interesting, overhanging eaves that seem to be flowing west down Colfax toward the mountains.
December 11th, 2012 / No Comments » / by Tom Lundin
House on the Mesa
As everyone should know by now, there are *no* official Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Colorado. When you inevitably see his name dropped by ill-informed Colorado real estate agents in their ads, feel confident that they are quite mistaken.
Wright did design two structures for Colorado, his unbuilt version of The Horseshoe Inn in Estes Park in 1908 and his 1932 entry into the the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, the unbuilt House on the Mesa.
The House On the Mesa was a four-car luxury home made of steel, glass and concrete with a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains. A long building, it extended 360 feet on a flat site of several acres. A concrete blockshell wall faced the major highway that ran past the property. The house featured a swimming pool covered with a cantilevered roof and an open lake with surrounding woods.
It is not likely there was ever a true location identified for this building in Denver or even in Golden where two large mesas separate the town from the rest of wider Denver. No location in the area fits all of Wright’s plans, orientations and descriptions.
The House on the Mesa was designed for a moderately wealthy American family of considerable culture — master, mistress and four children, cook and two maids, chauffeur and gardener.
Their architect intended to help them make something of machine-age luxury that would compare favorably in character and integrity with the luxury of the Greeks or Goths, within the limits of an expenditure of some $125,000. -Frank Lloyd Wright 1932
Wright’s inspiration of the wealthy American family of considerable culture comes from a visit in 1930 to give a speech at the Denver Art Musuem. He was invited to stay at the home of George Cranmer, who lived in a Italian Renaissance Revival villa designed by J.B. Benedict in 1917. The house still sits today in the Hilltop area on the edge of Cranmer Park with the mountains viewable to the west.
Robery Sweeney’s book Wright in Hollywood states “Wright explained later that he had used the Cranmers’ family and situation merely as an ideal American family … as an example to the country, when designing House on the Mesa; their set up seemed worth interpreting. He added that he had no idea whether they would at all like the interpretation.”
In 1935 George Cranmer became manager of Denver’s parks and recreation system and oversaw the construction of Red Rocks Ampitheater, the Valley Highway (now the Denver portion of I-25), the Boulder Turnpike, Winter Park and the purchase of the land for Stapleton Airport.
(Information and photos borrowed from SaveWright.org’s WrightChat using information from Robert Sweeney’s book Wright in Hollywood, [©1994 Architectural History Foundation/MIT Press] and Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer’s third volume of collected writings [Rizzoli, 1993, pp 126-30]).
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June 26th, 2012 / 2 Comments » / by Tom Lundin
Cherry Creek Towers
Cherry Creek Towers, a 1962 apartment building designed
by Carl Groos. It has a plural name as it was intended to
be part of a three building development, but only one of these
beautiful Miesian-style buildings was completed. Groos worked
with I.M. Pei and had has own firm as well. You may have
seen the Morris House which he designed near Cheesman Park.
Learn more about this apartment building and Carl Groos at this
Cherry Creek Towers website.
April 2nd, 2012 / No Comments » / by Tom Lundin
Seasons Greetings from Zeckendorf Plaza
A seasonal late-60s-era holiday shot of Zeckendorf Plaza, with lights displayed under the hyperbolic-paraboloid roof and out in the plaza over the ice skating rink.
A famous “lost” I. M. Pei & Associates design, the plaza was built in 1959 and sadly torn
down in 1996.
December 23rd, 2011 / 1 Comment » / by Alan G. Gass
Mile High Center
Today we have guest photographer Alan G. Gass (esteemed architect, historian and in my view, city hero) with some 1950s-era shots of I. M. Pei & Associates’ Mile High Center.
If you look closely at this first shot of the entranceway canopy on Broadway, you can see Mr. Gass himself in the reflection of the front door, taking this photo.
Many of the features shown in the photos, of this early important work of I. M. Pei, no longer exist, as many of the spaces were absorbed into the design of One United Bank Center (now Wells Fargo Center, the “Cash Register Building”).
In this shot you can see the canopy as it crosses through the fountains to connect to the restaurant and shops of the Transportation Building. Behind the plaza you can view some of the details of the remodeled bank building, which is the third building of Mile High Center design.
Viewing east toward the fountains, past the row of lights on the bank, this photo nicely depicts the interrelationship of all three buildings with the plaza.
And lastly, a shot of the concrete barrel-shaped roof of the Transportation Building. You can also see additional details of the bank building. This is the intersection of 17th and Lincoln, compare how different this looks today.
November 22nd, 2011 / 4 Comments » / by Alan G. Gass
Broadway & 17th
Broadway and 17th in downtown Denver, showing the contrasts of styles from different eras.
The sandstone Brown Palace from 1892, the International-style Mile High Tower from 1956,
and peeking over the top, the post-modern Wells Fargo Center skyscraper from 1984.
November 21st, 2011 / No Comments » / by Tom Lundin
Broadway Plaza Motel postcard
A postcard of the International-style Broadway Plaza Hotel with a photo taken when it
was first completed in 1959. This building is still standing, of course!
Go here to see a 1959 ad featuring the same photo.
(Postcard borrowed from the Neat Stuff blog.)
October 25th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Tom Lundin