The warp and woof of urban fabric
Sandy Carson Gallery
American Society of Interior Designers – Colorado: First Place
This judicious renovation of an unused storefront in one of Denver’s most active art districts is based on two architectonic premises. First, the art must be allowed to play the lead role in this story, and second, the design should strive to join and complement the urban fabric of the district, even if the primary vehicle for doing so is interior architecture.
Originally constructed in the 1890s, 760 Santa Fe Drive has seen many uses over the past century. Most recently, the area has been rediscovered as a center for Denver’s arts community; with galleries, studios, and raw loft spaces inhabiting former industrial spaces. Unfortunately, some renovations have replaced the original Victorian storefronts with “Santa Fe style” beige stucco buildings complete with turquoise mullioned openings. HPA aimed to do something very different.
The ground-floor cladding of the building was beyond saving, but the silhouettes and details of the Victorian structure were too valuable to lose. The irregular storefront enclosure and seismic bracing now magnify the value of both old and new.
Because the storefront is not flat, it allows the viewer to experience both the transparent and opaque possibilities of glass simultaneously. It requests a quiet participation, with the detailing of the interior space continuing the flow from inside to outside, viewer to viewed. The few fixed walls do not touch the ceiling, but seem to float, allowing the art to be the most important aspect of this space.