Words: Peter Moran
When it comes to exploring the architecture and design of Denver, it doesn’t much get better than Doors Open Denver (DOD), the much-loved annual event organized by the Denver Architectural Foundation, which is returning this year from September 21 to 22. Organized around guided self-guided tours of important landmarks in Denver’s built environment, DOD transforms the the city into a walkable museum, with dozens of opportunities for exploring how thoughtful design has shaped—and continues to shape—the growth and development of the Mile High City.
The event includes more than 100 tours spread across two days. We’re particularly excited about these six:
This 1-hour tour led by Aaron Koury of Shea Properties explores the new Prism building at 999 17th Street in the center of Denver’s financial district. Sleek, striking, and futuristic, the Prism’s nine-story office space has quickly become one of the most talked-about new developments in the city, sparking admiration and debate among design pros of all disciplines. The building is so special, we’ve even decided to feature it in our upcoming fall issue! The tour runs September 21 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The Wellshire Arms join Josh Robinson and Charles Russell of Kephart Architects on this 2-hour guided tour of The Wellshire Arms, an apartment building constructed in 1962 that redefined what apartment living means in Denver. In addition to learning about the building’s development, you’ll get an insider’s view of The Wellshire Arms’ residences from Robinson, who lives there. The tour runs September 21 at 1 p.m.
Lauren Cross of Denver Graffiti Tour will lead this 90-minute jaunt through the heart of RiNo—the nexus of Denver’s street art culture. The experts at Denver Graffiti Tour have interviewed more than 30 of the artists whose work decorates the streets of RiNo and distilled their stories into a fascinating saga of the neighborhood’s renowned obsession with public art. The tour runs September 21 at 2 and 4 p.m.
This 75-minute guided tour led by Stephen Dynia of Dynia Architects takes participants through Denver’s 100,000-square-foot creative workspace and food hall at 38th and Blake Streets, Zeppelin Station. As you explore ZS and marvel at its forward-thinking design, you’ll learn how the building operates behind the scenes, including how it curates its market hall tenants. The tour runs September 21 at 12 p.m. (Bonus: Read more about Zeppelin Station in our summer 2018 issue, here.)
John Olson and Rosemary Stoffel of Historic Denver will lead this 1-hour tour of the Holland House, a local historic landmark in University Park. Designed by Eugene Groves, one of Denver’s most famous and influential architects, the home is constructed entirely of pre-cast concrete panels, a technique that Groves pioneered. The tour runs September 22 at 10 and 11:30 a.m.
On this 1-hour tour led by Bill Powell, a docent at the Denver Botanic Gardens, you’ll learn to appreciate one of Denver’s most beautifully designed institutions in a whole new way. Learn about the mid-century Boettcher Memorial Center and Tropical Conservatory, the Beaux-Arts Waring House, the contemporary Science Pyramid, and the brand-new Freyer-Newman Center, still under construction. The tour runs September 22 at 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. (Bonus: Read about Victor Hornbein, who designed the Boettcher Memorial Center and Tropical Conservatory, in our fall 2016 issue, here.)