Design Studio V
University of Colorado Denver
Instructor: Ranko Ruzic
Carving brings in an interesting addition to the historical downtown of Denver. As a concept it strategically conflicts with the surrounding as while it complements the buildings around it.
The program serves the art society in a very comprehensive way. Artists from around the world can come to Denver and actually live where they have their exhibition or performance. Top levels have apartments, workspaces and a music studio. Office level has building administration spaces and the hall level exhibition/performance spaces. Once an art exhibition is over the street level art retail spaces provide the public a chance to purchase art. Below street level is a music club.
The shape that is carved out of the mass serves multiple purposes. It connects the 16th street and Wazee street together by creating an interesting plaza space. It also connects the streetlife into the plaza and through the plaza into the building itself. The carving shape also serves an acoustical purpose as it reflects the sounds made next to it providing a possibility for street musicians to perform. The same shape continues inside of the building on the multipurpose hall level providing good acoustical environment for all kinds of performances and visual/audio exhibitions.
The carved shape also creates a cool microclimate that provides cool intake air for the building. The main staircase has the shape rotated vertically to create a natural ventilation chimney that allows hot air to exit from the top therefore creating an environmentally friendly sustainable strategy. Hot air exits through the garden providing a beneficial environment for plants to grow.
Orientation inside of the building becomes easy when the shape of the carving can be seen on the facades and the floor plans. Even without visiting the building the visitor can have an idea what is happening inside.
The shape of the mass respects the surroundings. The carving and the tile patterned rusted metal screen create an interesting strategic conflict that will stand out from the environment as well as blend into it. Steel supports behind the tile patterned screen have a spacing that originates from the window spacing of the neighboring buildings. Same applies to larger window mullion spacing and depth.
The fact that Denver is already overloaded with cars led to a decision where this building does not offer any parking. Within walking or biking distance there is a huge potential customer base. When an artist lives in the building they can use a selection of shared cars owned by the art society parked at nearby parking halls. Visitors arriving by bike can store their bike safely in the first floor bike storage.