In 1971, the museum opened what is now known as the North Building, designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates. The seven-story structure, 210,000-square-foot building allowed the museum to display its collections under one roof for the first time. This architectural icon remains the only completed project in the United States by this important Italian master of modern design.
The North Building, at right in the photo above, was an innovative move away from traditional, temple-style museum architecture. More than a million reflective glass tiles on the building's exterior complement the dramatic windows and pierced roofline of the building's castle-like facade. "Art is a treasure, and these thin but jealous walls defend it," said Gio Ponti.
Continuing a legacy of bold architecture, the DAM commissioned architect Daniel Libeskind to design an expansion that would accommodate our growing collections and programs. The 146,000-square-foot Hamilton Building, at left in the photo above, opened to the public October 7, 2006.
The Hamilton Building's design recalls the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and geometric rock crystals found in the foothills near Denver. "I was inspired by the light and the geology of the Rockies, but most of all by the wide-open faces of the people of Denver," says Libeskind. The building is covered in 9,000 titanium panels that reflect the Colorado sunshine.
North & Hamilton Buildings Audio and Images
Want to find out more about the museum's architecture? Listen to our free audio programs about the Hamilton and North Buildings. You can:
- hear architect Daniel Libeskind answer questions about his design for the Hamilton Building (6:19, mp3)
- learn more about the DAM's first revolutionary piece of architecture: the North Building (7:06, mp3)
See images of the Hamilton and North buildings on the DAM Facebook page.