Civic Character

McNichols Civic Center Building

Denver, CO

Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute Masterworks in Masonry Merit Award

Dedicated on February 15th, 1910 as Denver’s Public Library, the building now referred to as the McNichols Building has played a significant role in the development of Denver’s Civic Center, serving as the City’s central public library until 1956.

In September 1956, the building was extensively “remodeled” and converted for use as offices for the Denver Water Board. As part of the remodeling, many of the interior features were removed and limestone panels were introduced between the second and third floor windows, drastically changing the character of the building.

During the summer of 2010, the inaugural Biennial of the Americas utilized the McNichols Building in a manner that generated a newfound interest in the building. The Phase I Redevelopment expanded upon this momentum, creating a successful assembly space by celebrating the legacy and historic fabric of the building and its surroundings; elevating the vision for Civic Center, the McNichols Building and their collective contribution to the City; and establishing the framework and inspiration for the model of sustainability.

One of the biggest areas of focus was the window replacement and preservation of the exterior. The windows from the 1956 remodel were replaced with new die-cast aluminum replicas of the original wood, while the limited number of remaining windows were restored. The windows and restoration of the exterior finishes returned much of the building’s historic character. The project was made possible through State Historical Fund (SHF) funding.

Completed in 2012, phase I also included the addition of new public restrooms, various site improvements, and mechanical system upgrades.

Humphries Poli Architects is currently working on the second phase of rehabilitation which will reconstruct the historic stair along Colfax Avenue, introduce a freight elevator, and relocate existing spaces to restore the entrance back towards its original splendor.

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