Denver Art Museum to kick off initial stage of North Building Project in November 2017

Museum’s Hamilton Building will open on Mondays to expand visitor and student access during construction

After five years of planning, design work and fundraising, including inclusion in the General Obligation Bond up for approval by Denver voters this fall, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced it will begin preparations for the North Building renovation work on Nov. 20, 2017. The landmark building will be open to visitors through Sunday, Nov. 19, and then will close to the public in order to remove collections and prepare the space for construction. Starting Monday, Nov. 20, the Hamilton Building, south of 13th Avenue, will be open to the public seven days a week to provide additional opportunities for visitor access during the renovation project.

Proposed architectural rendering of an aerial view of the North Building. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

The museum will continue to present a robust program in the Hamilton Building throughout the duration of construction, including complimentary general admission on Free First Saturdays. School tours and youth general admission will continue to be free under the museum’s Free for Kids program, and special exhibitions for fall and spring include Stampede: Animals in Art (opening Sept. 10), a presentation drawn from the museum’s expansive collections, as well as Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism (opening Oct. 22) and Degas: A Passion for Perfection (opening Feb. 11), among many other programs and presentations.

“We are delighted to be taking a first step toward realizing plans to renovate the North Building, one of the City of Denver’s architectural gems,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Preparing the building for renovation is a complex process, including the movement of thousands of art objects, and needs to be undertaken to ensure we are beginning the project on the optimal schedule. This important renovation will extend the life of this iconic structure by addressing critical infrastructure issues which are crucial to meeting 21st-century standards for the care and presentation of art. By presenting collection-based exhibitions in the Hamilton galleries during this time, visitors will have the opportunity to explore DAM’s permanent collections in new spaces with a fresh perspective, while exploring the world-class traveling exhibitions the DAM has become known for.”

North Building Project elements

Enhancements to the Gio Ponti-designed North Building will enable the museum to better serve the community by putting education at the heart of the museum campus, presenting new and expanded art gallery spaces, improving all major systems throughout the 210,000-square-foot building, and creating a central point of entry with a new Welcome Center. The project is slated to be completed by the building’s 50th anniversary at the end of 2021.

Interior rendering of flexible event and programming space inside the planned Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center at the Denver Art Museum. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

The architecture team of Fentress Architects of Denver and Boston-based Machado Silvetti collaborated with the museum to create the design for the refreshed North Building and new Welcome Center. This work followed several years of planning for the North Building’s renovation, which began in 2012 with structural feasibility studies, followed by a master-planning process with Denver-based Tryba Architects.

Upon the project’s completion, the North Building will include new spaces for the museum’s renowned Design and Western American art collections, as well as additional exhibition space. The work also will complete Gio Ponti’s original vision for visitor access to stunning 7th-floor mountain and city views, add exterior site-safety improvements and update environmental and other key systems to current generation technology.

North Building Project funding

The DAM has been privately fundraising for the North Building renovation for the last five years, receiving generous support from many early donors. The museum is also participating in the City of Denver’s General Obligation bond process to help fund ADA compliance, as well as life safety, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and outdoor-safety upgrades. The bond would help to complete the DAM’s fundraising effort by providing $35.5 million toward critical upgrades and enhancements within the North Project, approximately one quarter of the funds required to complete the estimated $150 million renovation. If the bond is approved, the DAM would match every public dollar with approximately three private dollars.

Architect Talks

On Friday, Oct. 6, the DAM will host two free talks with the North Building project’s architecture team from Denver-based Fentress Architects and Boston-based Machado Silvetti. Curtis Fentress and Jorge Silvetti will share project design concepts and talk about the inspirations behind them at two presentations at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in DAM’s Ponti Hall. Free tickets will be available to the public starting Aug. 22. Visit for additional details.

About the North Building Project

The North Building project, estimated at $150 million, will for the first time unify the museum’s campus and align with the Hamilton Building’s 21st-century systems and art experiences, including expanded resources for youth and school groups, and improved visitor circulation. The project was developed in conjunction with the DAM by design team Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti Architects. Denver-based Saunders Construction will oversee the development of the project.

Media Resources

About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, cultural and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

Download PDF of press release.