Monday, November 12, 2007

Ideas Wanted: DAM's Ugly Face

It's been a little over a year since the Denver Art Museum (DAM) opened its doors to the new $100 million addition designed by famed architect Daniel Libeskind. Anyone who has seen the building can attest to its striking exterior, with the wild angles and titanium clad siding (top).

But for a little over a year I have been waiting to see what is going to happen around the corner. While much attention has been paid to the museum entrances, the main face of the Libeskind project (which also includes several high-priced residential units) is city - block long concrete wall.

I am curious how it is possible to bring in a world renowned architect, spend millions of dollars to create a top-notch cultural space and simply forget to design the enormous parking garage that faces one of the city's busiest streets, Broadway Avenue. Perhaps there is a grand plan to do something amazing with this hideous facade (and I truly hope there is). If so, someone please let me know.

The fact is, something needs to be done to this neglected area and it should have been done over a year ago. To leave it as is is an embarrassment to the city and to the project as a whole. So I would like to open the floor to your ideas. You can see the shameful wall in question above. If you could propose something for this ugly mess what would it be? Install something, paint something, plant something? Let me know. With any luck we will pass your ideas along to the powers that be and inspire some action to help DAM's forgotten face.


Scott Bennett said...

They are putting in phase 2 of the Museum Residences (a condo tower) on that south corner (12th and Broadway). This is the part that's fenced in your photos. That development will hide most of the concrete on the parking garage. It's visible on the architectural model displayed inside the museum, and here: link. I'm not sure if the tanking real estate market has affected the construction schedule. Not much seems to be happening there.

The north corner (the grassy runoff drainage pond at 13th and Broadway) is supposedly reserved for future library expansion.

The entire development has a number of big problems for me, and site orientation is one of the biggest ones.

jaime said...

A tower in that space? Interesting. Thanks for the update Scott. I'm glad there's a plan at least - although something could certainly happen there in the meantime.

What about allowing local artists to do a temporary installation? A year of looking at a concrete wall is ridiculous - whatever their time line may be.

jaime said...

designklub reader Martha sent along a great idea...

I suggest that the "forgotten face" at the DAM be turned into a living wall: It's a beautiful and very eco-friendly feature to add to a plain building.

I would love to see something like that cover part of the wall!

iana said...

I suggest Sgraffito-a technique of mural painting;in comparison with fresco and mosaic this same old technique presents a series full of advantages:
low cost price(prime cost)
short execution time
very durable and aesthetically
and eco-friendly

Christopher Cummings said...

where is banksy when you need him