Gio Ponti-designed North Building celebrated in Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon

Exhibition traces the history and evolution of the nearly 50-year-old museum landmark

Punctuating the upcoming North Building project announced on December 8, 2016, this February the Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon—an exhibition on the iconic modernist building, its history and its future. The exhibition will feature historical photos, original architectural sketches, building models and project renderings to tell the story of the North Building’s evolution. Then, Now, Next will take over the Gates Family Gallery on level 2 of the Hamilton Building from Feb. 19 through Aug. 31, 2017.

“For nearly 50 years, the North Building has been a significant part of the community, and we’re excited for the upcoming project that will ensure it continues to play a prominent role,” said Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the museum. “We want to honor the building, and give our visitors an opportunity to reflect on its history and share the excitement for its future.”

The exhibition will be divided into three specific sections: Then, Now and Next.

North Building under construction in 1969. Courtesy Denver Art Museum.

The Then section will take visitors from the pre-construction site through build out—featuring Gio Ponti’s architectural drawings, historical photos and building model as well as other ephemera from the celebrated 1971 building opening.

The Now section will feature details on how the North Building has served an expanding and diversifying community since opening its doors nearly 50 years ago.

The Next section will feature the museum’s future plans, including renderings and an architectural model, and outline the guiding principles for the team: Stewardship of buildings and collections, offering a superior visitor experience, unifying the campus and inviting the whole community to enjoy the museum and its programs.

Proposed architectural rendering of terrace on level 7 of the North Building. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

“By tracing the history of the North Building from its earliest development through its original construction, and then observing how it has developed into the building we experience today, this exhibition is a moment to reflect on its significance,” said Darrin Alfred, curator of architecture, design and graphics at the DAM. “Visitors can chart how the need for such a structure arose and examine how innovative a museum building it was for the late 1960s. They then can view how the new North revitalization project will celebrate Gio Ponti’s original vision for the building and be an open, welcoming destination for visitors.”

Exhibition visitors also will have the opportunity to share their favorite North Building experiences through an in-gallery visitor feedback installation.

The exhibition will be included in general museum admission, which is free for members and youth 18 and under.

Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon is organized by the DAM. It is supported by the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

Download PDF of press release.