That’s why Modernism is important.
This has been a pretty problematic week. What has been happening in Denver in terms of what is built – and what will be destroyed – has given me a real headache. I know there are more terrible events nationally that have had an impact on all of us. But, how this city evolves has an impact on us, too.
First is the fever-pitch debate over Tom’s Diner, which, yes, is a Modernist building. Apparently people either love it (or understand it) or they dismiss it as frivolous (or worse). And, yes, there are many who worry about the owner’s future. I get that.
Then, yesterday, I attended a Denver Planning Board meeting where the Loretto Heights Area Plan was under discussion, and it sailed through. There will be more on that later, but preservation certainly came up in the plan and in the comments from numerous people involved in the process. The older buildings on the campus have big support; the Modernist buildings – and there are many of them – have not generated much attention, except for the beautiful 1960s theater, which is a Modernist gem. It’s all in the hands of the developer.
So everything brightened up for me with the announcement by Modern in Denver’s listing of Denver Modernism Week’s roster of tours, talks, and such. The week runs from August 16, with an opening night party, through August 25, which coincides with the final day of Denver Mod, the new name for the annual Denver Modernism Show. The magazine is a stalwart champion of Modernism, and is a major sponsor. (There are plenty more, too.)
Yes, the image at the top of this post is stunning, and I’m going to assume it is a photograph by Ron Sladek, of Tatanka Historical Associates, who will make a presentation on his work chronicling the construction of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, which was designed by Charles Haertling. His son, Joel Haertling, will show a film he created: “Design Process of Charles A. Haertling.”
Plenty of projects by other mid-century Modernist architects (and developers) will be part of the more than 20 events. That includes Eugene Sternberg and I.M. Pei, whose recent death focused our attention on the way Denver has mistreated his work. (No surprise there.) One of the week’s events focuses on “Serious Play,” on view at the Denver Art Museum through August 24.
So it all sort of works together.
Below is a link to Denver Modernism Week, along with links to Denver Mod and “Serious Play.”