Denver Art Museum / Daniel Libeskind

© Bitter Bredt

Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Location: Denver, Colorado,
Joint Venture Partner: Davis Partnership
Contractor: M.A Mortensen Co. (Colorado)
Structural Engineer: Arup (Los Angeles)
Structural Connection Design: Structural Consultants, Inc.
Civil Engineers: JF Sato and Associates
Mechanical Air: Arup-Los Angeles
Mechanical/Electrical: MKK Engineers and Arup (Los Angeles)
Structural Engineers: ARUP (Los Angeles)
Structural Connection Design: Structural Consultants, Inc.
Civil Engineers: JF Sato and Associates
Interior Designers: Studio with Davis Partnership
Landscape Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind with Davis Partnership
Lighting Consultant: George Sexton and Associates
Theater Consultant: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Acoustical Consultant: ARUP (Los Angeles)
Exterior Façade Consultant: Gordon H Smith, ARUP, BCE;
Project Area: 146,000 sq ft
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Bitter Bredt, DAM, SDL, Michele Nastasi

The Extension to the Denver Art Museum, The Frederic C. Hamilton Building, is an expansion and addition to the existing museum, designed by the Italian Architect Gio Ponti. Inspired by the vitality and growth of Denver, the addition currently houses the Modern and Contemporary art collections as well as the collection of Oceanic and African Art. The extension, which opened in October 2006, was a joint venture with Davis Partnership Architects, the Architect of Record, working with M.A. Mortensen Co.

ground floor plan

To complete the vision for the extension Studio Daniel Libeskind worked closely with the director, curators, core exhibition team, the contract architect and the Board of Trustees. Since its opening, the new building has become a major cultural landmark for Denver, attracting thousands of visitors to the museum complex.

© Bitter Bredt
© Bitter Bredt

“Nexus is conceived in close connection with the function and aesthetic of the existing Ponti museum, as well as the entire Civic Center and public library. The new building is a kind of city hub, tying together downtown, the Civic Center, and forming a strong connection to the golden triangle neighborhood. The project is not designed as a stand alone building, but as part of a composition of public spaces, monuments and gateways in this developing part of the city, contributing to the synergy amongst neighbors, large and intimate.

“The materials of the building closely relate to the existing context as well as innovative new materials (such as titanium) which together will form spaces that connect local Denver tradition to the 21st Century.

section 01
© Bitter Bredt

“The amazing vitality and growth of Denver — from its foundation to the present — inspires the form of the new museum. Coupled with the magnificent topography with its breathtaking views of the sky and the Rocky Mountains, the dialogue between the boldness of construction and the romanticism of the landscape creates a unique place in the world. The bold and forward looking engagement of the public in forging its own cultural, urban and spirited destiny is something that would strike anyone upon touching the soil of Colorado.

© Bitter Bredt

“One of the challenges of building the Denver Art Museum was to work closely and respond to the extraordinary range of transformations in light, coloration, atmospheric effects, temperature and weather conditions unique to this City. I insisted these be integrated not only functionally and physically, but culturally and experientially for the benefit of the visitors’ experience.

© Bitter Bredt

“The new building is not based on an idea of style or the rehashing of ready made ideas or external shape because its architecture does not separate the inside from the outside or provide a pretty facade behind which a typical experience exists; rather this architecture has an organic connection to the public at large and to those aspects of experience that are also intellectual, emotional, and sensual. The integration of these dimensions for the enjoyment and edification of the public is achieved in a building that respects the hand crafted nature of architecture and its immediate communication from the hand, to the eye, to the mind. After all, the language of architecture beyond words themselves is the laughter of light, proportion and materiality.”

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Denver Art Museum / Daniel Libeskind" 05 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Impressive and quite beautiful from the walker point of view I guess.

    I’m just wondering where is the quality as a museum from the art enthusiast point of view.

    The two pictures of an exhibition space make me think as if I had open my laundry room where I’m stocking haphazardly some of the pieces witch are not on my main walls for the moment.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    why would he ? he’s a businessman/architect.

    you should stop with that non existing architecture’s code of ethics…

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    To bad there aren’t photos of the Clyfford Still Museum on the corner! The Denver Art Museum is not nearly as nice in person as it appears in these photographs.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    do you see the watercolor sketch? see the repetitive windows and the tower? That’s the Denver public library, Michael Grave’s 1995. I think DL could only dream of competing with that.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I should hate it more than I do, but I guess it’s through section that I get an understanding of intended space. Having said that the building is a struggle aesthetically, even programically, to behold.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Both gehry’s and libeskinds buildings lack any rigor or logic. But gehry’s work feels tongue in cheek and works because of it whilst libeskinds is labored and as such even more pointless.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    It could always get worse. Anyone notice the condos adjacent to the museum? Guess who designed those?

  8. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Professionals do.

    The building is quite nice both in person and in how it was formed based on regulating line derived from the city itself.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    well, it’s a one-liner. its jagged disposition is full of trite explanations of it’s relationship to the mountains. it creates awkward space both inside and out. i find no merit in it’s exploration, especially as a place for art.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    He’s gotten way too much mileage out of those gash/slash type fenestrations. Interesting interior spaces, perhaps, but really poor display areas.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    sigh…i remember loving his work up til 3rd year (and to a degree, still emulating it into thesis). but hes still rendering the same forms after all these years? god, even meier’s evolved somewhat since his deconstructed box days. whats libeskinds rationale this time? hebrew script? exploded ammo?

  12. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    You need to see it inside in person to understand what a ill concieved ego driven exercise it really is. Art is relagated to leftover spaces in a volume dictated by exterior form. It doesn’t work as a building to display art. That should be the most important point.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      I agree. The interior spaces are so useless. Earlier this year, the museum had to specially commission artists to design pieces that fit the so-called galleries “designed” by Libeskind.

      But it’s all backfired on him. He’s not getting any attention or decent commissions any more. He’s become a developer hack working for Koreans.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    One hit wonder or one trick pony? Either way Libeskind is looking awfully like the fool he truly is.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    clients only use them for their star power. Libeskind designed a condo in Singapore which is attention grabbing but lacks local understanding, result?poor sales.I went to his talk once, and couldn’t understand the archi-gibberish he’s saying.

  15. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    It’s a good morphological build.Wish you have many other new architectural design to complet!

  16. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Gio Ponti had it right, providing a narrative in the original DAM, framing views of the Rockies adjacent to galleries. Liebskind’s building is so selfishly shortsighted, that the curators struggle to exhibit their work on slanted walls & ceilings. It begs the question, who and for what was this building made for?

  17. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I’m amazed by how grotesque this building turned out to be. How could one curator acknowledge this mess, how could “something” – it could be a work of art, or a mere chair – compete with this awfulness.

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so nice and Impressive , but i think the museum should had larg area and space as function..

    I am a small architectural ^^

  19. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so nice and Impressive , but i think the museum should had larg area and space as function

    I am a small architectural ,

  20. Thumb up Thumb down -2

    This is an interesting result, combining various triangular segments to form such a remarkable star like plan is a brilliant idea.
    Some people might have different point of view due to the fact that it is not comfortable to use such acute or sharp angles in both terms vertically and horizontally which I agree with but what is more important is how that was an overcame challenge.
    I loved it though it looked extreme, because in Architecture staff like that is possible as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main general function of that space.

  21. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    At the first sight, suddenly came to my mind The Royal Ontario museum in Toronto. That regular building with the huge crystal! And then i realized that “Daniel Libeskind” did them both. Well the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Denver art museum, that it’s interesting. But then I felt that it’s really painful to see that very sharp edge. And the picture of that sharp edge from the inside is even worse. I think it’s not brave to do that, it’s just wrong. Even when i saw the back side of the building, I felt that it is a totally different building. Besides that, if I imagined myself standing besides this building, or entering it. I think I would feel that it’s falling on me. Maybe the purpose was to make it like a kind of sculpture in the middle of the city, but defiantly I can’t understand a clear concept behind this building, that would make me convinced to see the painful edge and all the triangulated wasted edges from the inside.

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