Denver’s ‘style’ is an evolutionary experience

Perrenoud window IMG_2243

This morning brought a surprise: a piece in Denverite addressing the architectural styles found in Denver.

Actually, it was not a total surprise. Last week, I sat down with reporter Donna Bryson to discuss Denver’s architectural evolution, shaped by fires and floods, influences from  Chicago’s ground-breaking buildings and architects the impact of out-of-town architects during the oil boom, talented Denver architects, a strong mid-century Modern aesthetic, and, now, a mish-mash of good buildings and awful buildings.

Bryson is interested in buildings and neighborhoods. She had purchased a copy of the second edition of the Guide to Denver Architecture, which was sponsored by the Denver Architecture Foundation. She quoted this from the book, which was published in 2013, in which I commented on “a suburban aesthetic, a bland, cheap-material way of doing business that produced projects that are neither urban nor urbane.”

Little did I know that the scene five years ago was merely the tip of the iceberg of junk. At the top of her story is a photo of a slot home arrangement. Sigh. But the subject of masonry – brick and stone – was part of the story, too, since before the gush of cheesy  materials and ugly “designs” landed in our city, Denver was a brick city, though I also honor stone, glass, and steel.

That’s what you see at the top of this post: red brick, with a sandstone surround – all in the service of a bathroom window.

Below are links to the Denverite piece by Donna Bryson; a serious piece in Curbed, which includes quotes from Michael Paglia, a historian and the art and architecture critic for Westword, and two pieces that deal with the concept of “Denverizing” a section of Kansas City — sort of like cold water in the face.


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