The Hamilton Building at night

A Look Back at the Hamilton Building on its 10th Anniversary

It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the grand opening of Frederic C. Hamilton Building. But it’s been 10 amazing years filled with blockbuster exhibitions and world-class programs.

We commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Hamilton Building as we mourn the passing of a visionary leader and dear friend, Frederic Hamilton.

Read along as we take a fond look back at the Hamilton Building.

Libeskind's Inspiration

The Hamilton Building was Daniel Libeskind's first project completed in North America. The 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," Libeskind said.

By the Numbers

A few interesting numbers about the Hamilton Building:

  • It's 146,000 square feet
  • It's covered in 9,000 titanium panels
  • The height of the El Pomar Grand Atrium is 120 feet

A Moment in Time: Here by Rick Dula
Credit: Rick Dula, A Moment in Time: Here, 2009. Acrylic paint, graphite, and chalk on wall. Museum purchase from the Volunteer Endowment Acquisition Fund. © Rick Dula

'Hidden' Artworks

There are two "hidden" artworks in the Hamilton Building. Rick Dula’s hyper-realist painting of the Hamilton Building, A Moment in Time: Here was on view in 2009 and 2010 in the exhibition Embrace! It’s currently protected by a wall on level 2.

Richard Serra’s Basic Maintenance is a 6,000-pound, steel sculpture that balances on a tiny point, propped against a wall engineered to accommodate its weight. No bolts secure it; no welding holds it together. It’s currently protected by a wall on level 4.

Title wall for Yves Saint Laurent The Retrospective

128 Exhibitions on View in the Hamilton Building Since 2006

Expanding our museum complex with the Hamilton Building enabled the museum to bring to Denver 128 exhibitions including Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, Becoming Van Gogh, and Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective.

In addition, programs like The Studio on level 1 in the Hamilton Building and the Precourt Family Discovery Hall on level 2 added space for working artists to interact with visitors and allowed visitors to engage in more hands-on activities.

Couple engaged in Samurai
Instagram photo of a proposal in Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection. Courtesy of Cara Elizabeth Yar Khan.

The DAM is for Lovers

We know of several couples who got engaged in exhibitions in the Hamilton Building—in Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century and Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection. And, a couple actually got married in 2009 at an Untitled Final Friday in the Duncan Pavilion!

Carleen Brice edits the blog and On & Off the Wall, the member magazine for the Denver Art Museum. Carleen has been at the DAM since 2013. One of her favorite exhibitions that has been on view at the DAM was Nick Cave: Sojourn.