In the city government’s utopian Denver, this much thought would go into every building design

They mayor’s design awards include a bus stop and a ticket booth this year, plus the “Black and White House.”
6 min. read
The “Black and White House” at 4200 W. 23rd Ave. Nov. 8, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver has some good looking buildings, but probably fewer than it did before the scrape-and-build extravaganza of the last decade.

To be real, though, Denver is not Chicago. The city is not known for its architecture. But that doesn't mean people shouldn't try. That's what the Mayor's Design Awards, announced today, are all about.

"The awards are really an opportunity to say these are places where we're seeing development, where we're seeing growth, but the structures are matching the context of the neighborhood," said Alexandra Foster, a spokesperson for Denver Community Planning and Development. "Or in some cases they're improving the public realm, opening up a block that wasn't welcoming before."

This year's slate includes 17 winners. Some are homes. One is a garden. There's even a ticket booth in there.

“The field of winners this year is the most diverse ever selected,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “The list is the perfect showcase of what we can do as a city when we design with the intent of lifting up our community.”

Another is a bus shelter:

A fancy bus shelter on E. Hampden Avenue near Ivanhoe Way, Nov. 8, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Thomas Jefferson High School students used to get splashed with snow from snowplows here, but now they have shelter at Hampden Boulevard and Ivanhoe Street. And an art gallery. Students can display their art here while waiting for the bus with way more dignity than before.

"It's functional, greatly needed and it’s also a good peacemaking structure," Councilwoman Kendra Black said.

Black said she and her team worked way too hard to get this basic transit infrastructure installed. They cut through some thick red tape with the Regional Transportation District, she said, and had to win two grants. TJ staffers are tasked with emptying the garbage can. Oh, and the parent-teacher association has to pay $700 a year in insurance.

The Bosler house is a big win for restoration:

The Bosler House, 3209 W. Fairview Place, West Highland. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It was built in 1895 in West Highland but its former owner let it fall into disrepair. I mean, it didn't even have a roof.

"They basically just left it open to the elements for a long time," Foster said.

A new owner bought the pad, which is a registered historic landmark. Now the before and after shots show improvements starker than those Rogaine commercials.

The Black and White House:

The "Black and White House" at 4200 W. 23rd Ave. Nov. 8, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Sloan's Lake private home is a remodeled 1960s ranch house. Foster said this design won because it's a modern redo that fits.

"It gives the house a new personality that still feels like it fits in within the block and the neighborhood," Foster said.

A ticket booth? A ticket booth:

A fancy ticket booth. (Denver Community Planning and Development)

This is my favorite. I'm a fan of tiny homes and cabins, and I would live in this thing if it had a bathroom. Unfortunately for me, this thing is for selling tickets at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Students at the University of Colorado Environmental Design school created it.

OK. Here are the rest of the winners.

The Ramble Hotel

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

Home to Death and Co., the Ramble Hotel is in the River North section of Five Points.

Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl Social Stapleton days before its grand opening, Nov. 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This piece of the chain restaurant and game spot is in Stapleton at 3120 N. Uinta Street.

Colorado Health Foundation building

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

They give away money for good things, and now they have a slick spot at 1780 Pennsylvania St.

2200 California

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

This, ladies and gentleman, is 2200 California St.

Steam on the Platte

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

It's a really large and pretty trendy office building in Lincoln Park, on the edge of Sun Valley.

The pride crosswalk:

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

Black tire marks are not on the spectrum of rainbow colors, but that didn't stop some unwanted skid marks on the crosswalk. Still a proud piece of public art and safety measure on South Broadway.

Garden Place Academy Research Station and Community Garden

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

Hard to argue with a good looking garden in Globeville winning something. Those herbs are a great organic design.

Backyard on Blake

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

Backyard on Blake is a restored warehouse that's now home to a bunch of businesses near 31st and Blake.

The Wheatley

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

The Wheatley building on 25th and Welton has 18 affordable units out of 82 for rent.

The Art Alley at Dairy Block

The Dairy Block's pedestrian alleyway, April 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

You can eat a bunch and drink way more things than milk at the Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee St.

River North stormwater outfall

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

I had no idea a place where stormwater gets discharged could be so highbrow. This is on the Platte River Trail below Arkins Court, between 31st and 35th streets.

Molly Brown House

(Denver Community Planning and Development)

Molly Brown used to live here, and now it's a museum dedicated to her memory as a forceful member of the Women's Suffrage Movement and her remarkable ability to not perish when the Titanic sunk with her on it.

The Circa Building

(Denver Community Planning and Development)
The office and retail building at 1615 Platte St. is inspired by the 150-year-old legacy of the area's industrial past. According to the Circa Building's website. It's also got "exceptional parking."

The awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. tonight at the Chambers Grant Salon of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The awards event and reception are free and open to the public.

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