Historic Denver to Honor Buildings that Preserve Culture, Affordability and Sustainability in Denver
On Oct. 13, Historic Denver, Inc. will hold its 52nd Annual Dinner & Awards Program at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. The nonprofit urban preservation organization will announce the recipients of its annual awards for projects and people preserving key historic buildings in Denver. This year’s preservation project award recipients include buildings that are not only historic, but provide affordable housing, advanced sustainability, and/or have a presence that is distinctively Denver.
“Historic buildings are community assets and part of our cultural fabric,” said John Lucero, chair of the Historic Denver Board of Trustees. “What’s more, preserving them is compatible with growth, affordability, sustainability and inclusivity — and our 2022 award recipients are living proof.”
The Colburn Hotel Apartments: Affordable housing at 980 Grant St. Famous for its association with Jack Kerouac, the Colburn opened as a residential hotel in 1928. It has served as low-income housing for decades, in particular serving residents who have experienced homelessness. Gorman & Company invested in major infrastructure upgrades to ensure the Colburn apartments remain viable, comfortable and affordable.
The Slate Hotel: Mixed-use at 1250 Welton St. More than 2 million people have benefitted from Emily Griffith’s progressive idea that education should be accessible to all. Now a Denver landmark, the original 1916 Emily Griffith Opportunity School building was reimagined by Stonebridge Companies and transformed into a hotel, retail and office spaces, with hints of the building’s former use as a school “for all who wish to learn.”
Pancratia Hall: Affordable housing at 3144 West Frances Walsh Pl. While preservation is inherently sustainable, some historic buildings take sustainability to the next level. Pancratia Hall Lofts resulted from the adaptive-reuse conversion of a Denver landmark – a vacant 1920s classroom and dorm at Loretto Heights – into 74 modern, family-sized, affordable apartments. The building is powered by 100% renewable energy, exceeds Enterprise Green Community standards, and has xeric landscaping and a new fruit-tree orchard.
Denver Art Museum, Martin Building: A Denver icon at 100 W. 14th Ave Pkwy. One of the most distinctive buildings in our city is the Denver Art Museum’s 1971 Gio Ponti design, now known as the Martin Building. It is a cultural attraction and a stunning visual landmark on the Golden Triangle skyline, known to locals and tourists alike — and Ponti’s only American work. The Denver Art Museum undertook a multi-year restoration of the iconic building, including carefully treating the 1 million glass tiles that give the building its dynamic sheen.
Benzina: Italian restaurant at 4839 E Colfax Ave. Benzina owner Brad Anderson spent three years transforming a former muffler shop into a midcentury-modern styled restaurant. He reused the distinctive, mid-mod protruding awning to cover a new, unique outdoor space, and reused the garage bays to create indoor-outdoor dining experiences. Benzina and others are helping to fuel a Colfax renaissance of walkable destinations.
Polly Baca: Political consultant and the first Latina elected to the Colorado State Senate. Polly Baca will receive the Molly Brown Award for devoting many years to civic life in all its forms, actively engaging in politics, philanthropy, arts and culture, and historic preservation.
Dr. Renee Cousins King: Pediatrician and advocate for Five Points community history. Renee Cousins King will receive the Ann Love Award, given to someone who may not consider themselves a traditional preservationist, but has shown initiative, creativity, and commitment in preserving the history, culture and architecture of Denver.
Dennis Humphries: Architect, preservationist, founder of the Denver Architecture Foundation. Dennis Humphries will receive the Keystone Award for his significant contribution to historic preservation over a career or lifetime.
Photos courtesy of Historic Denver