Building Inspiration

Renovating Ponti's Icon

OVERVIEW

Thanks to the thousands of visitors that experience transformative experiences with art each year, the DAM is in the top 20 most attended art museums in North America. Home to award-winning exhibitions and top-tier programs for all ages, the DAM is a place for shared, hands-on experiences, an appreciation for diverse cultures, and personal expression. It is a beacon for creativity and innovation, the very qualities that make our city great.

Nearing the 50th anniversary of the Gio Ponti-designed North Building, and more than a decade since the opening of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, it is time to look toward the next milestone in our evolution.

The North Building project will expand the museum’s ability to serve the community, welcome guests to our city, and preserve and present priceless works of art from cultures around the world and throughout history for generations to come.

November 19, 2017, was the last day for the public to explore and enjoy the North Building galleries until renovations are completed. In preparation for renovation, Palettes restaurant served its last meal on September 10 after 20 years of incredible service.

During construction, the Hamilton Building is buzzing with activity, and is now open seven days a week. View current exhibitions here.

Installation of Curved Glass Marks Major Milestone

Installation of Curved Glass Marks Major Milestone

April 30, 2019

A crane using a special suction cup lifter, which can only operate when it is 32 degrees or warmer outside, is used to lift each of the large glass panels. The high-performance structural glass, made up of three layers of 3/8-inch thick glass, was specifically fabricated for the museum's new welcome center. A total of 52 glass panels will complete the full elliptical façade of the new public space, including 36 curved panels standing 25 feet high and eight feet wide, making it the first structural glass wall façade of this size and scale in North America to hold itself up without the need for intermediate framing.

The new welcome center.

Construction Updates

April 1, 2019


In the welcome center, drywall installation is nearly complete on the lower level and bathroom tiling will begin later this month. Framing installation is complete and drywall installation has started on the first floor. On level 2, fireproofing is nearly complete, and the installation of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as framing, have started.

The process of installing glass panels on the welcome center exterior continues this month. Glass fins and stainless steel channels to support the curved glass panels are completely installed, and the installation of 52 glass panels will begin soon. Each curved, high-performance panel is made of three layers of 3/8-inch thick glass, with a laminated outboard construction, all fully tempered and heat soaked. The dimensions of the glass panels are 8 feet wide by 25 feet tall, and each weighs 3,200 pounds.

Inside the North Building, the installation of wood floors, bathroom tile, ceiling tile, and other finishes continues. Exterior windows are being installed in the elevator lobby. The iconic North Building tube has been reinstalled in its original location, and a bridge connection is currently being built.

North building

Renovation Milestones

See a timeline of project milestones.

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Gift Announcements

Gift Announcements

Read more about the individual donors and foundations in our community that have pledged significant gifts to the North Building renovation project.

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A Modernist Gem

A Modernist Gem

The North Building was designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates. Its 7-story silhouette is celebrated as one of the first high-rise art museums, and is the only completed building in North America designed by the renowned Italian modernist.

Rendering of entrance to the North Building and Welcome Center

Architectural Partners

Fentress Architects of Denver and Boston-based Machado Silvetti have been selected to design and administer the construction of the project, following a master plan study developed by Tryba Architects.

Architectural rendering of North Building revitalization project, aerial view at dusk

Key Elements

Key project elements include bringing the museum’s renowned educational programs to the center of the campus, expanding gallery spaces for growing collections, including design and western American art, completing Ponti’s original vision for visitor access to stunning 7th-floor views, exterior site improvements, and updating environmental and other key systems to current-generation technology.

Preview of the New Spaces

Preview of the New Spaces

Learn more about the upgrades to the building systems, new and expanded event spaces, and the rooftop terraces that will provide spectacular views. Also, see a preview of where each collection will be located on an infographic.

 

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Rendering of North entrance and Welcome Center

Proposed architectural rendering of North Building from the Cultural Center Complex Garage. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

Proposed architectural rendering of view of the North Building from 14th Ave. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

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

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

View of the North Building and Frederic C. Hamilton Building prow, taken from the parking garage, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

View of the North Building and Frederic C. Hamilton Building prow, taken from the parking garage, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

View of the North Building and skyline at sunset, taken from the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

View of the North Building and skyline at sunset, taken from the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

View of the North Building's original entrance, later used as a school group entrance, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

View of the North Building's original entrance, later used as a school group entrance, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

Profile view of the North Building's original entrance, later used as a school group entrance, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

Profile view of the North Building's original entrance, later used as a school group entrance, 2015. Photograph © James Florio.

Photograph of Italian architect Gio Ponti standing in a doorway photographed by Paolo Gasparini

Paolo Gasparini, Portrait of Gio Ponti, about 1955. Courtesy Gio Ponti Archives.

Architectural model of the Denver Art Museum's North Building created in 1966 by modern architect Gio Ponti and James Sudler Associates

Gio Ponti and James Sudler Associates, Model of the Denver Art Museum, 1966. Painted cardboard. Collection of the Denver Art Museum, 1991.859.

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

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

Visitors entering the Denver Art Museum's North Building in 1971

Entrance to the North Building, 1971. Photograph © Wayne Thom.

Exterior view of the North Building in 1971 detailing architectural elements designed by Gio Ponti

Exterior view of the North Building, 1971. Photograph © Wayne Thom.

North Building renovation images
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