Saunders Installs Curved Structural Glass for Denver Art Museum’s New Welcome Center
DENVER — The Denver Art Museum (DAM) and Saunders Construction recently marked another major construction milestone in its North Building renovation project with the installation of the highly anticipated curved glass façade for the welcome building — the first of its kind in North America.
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 welcome center is part of the Denver Art Museum’s $150 million North Building renovation project, which kicked off in early 2018 after receiving $35.5 million from the voter-supported Elevate Denver Bond Program to make critical infrastructure improvements.
The new welcome center will be named the Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center when finalized. The completion of the North Building project will 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, additional gallery space and improved visitor circulation.
The North Building project’s design has been realized by Fentress Architects of Denver and Boston-based Machado Silvetti. Sentech is the manufacturer for the welcome center’s structural glass and Harmon is the subcontractor installing the elliptical glass façade.