Almost a year after the Denver Art Museum broke ground to begin major renovations of the Ponti-North-Martin Building, the museum’s deputy director, Andrea Fulton, briefed a city council committee on the project’s progress.
In two words: a lot.
Fulton showed members of the Business, Arts, Workforce, and Aviation Services Committee slides of renderings and photos of the way the construction site looks now. That includes a shot of the bones of the new Welcome Center, which is awaiting its new custom-made glass panel walls. (That’s the photograph on top of the actual post.)
Replacement of all windows, vapor barriers laid against all walls, sprinklers, ADA access, new life safety systems, new and additional elevators: That sounds sort of mundane, but it is important, since the DAM and architects designing the museum renovation and additions are shooting for LEED Silver certification.
The Welcome Center will house a restaurant, a café, and event spaces. New landscaping and new pathways and a plaza / amphitheatre will provide a place for student groups (and others) to gather. (About 200,000 students visit the museum every year, and when the project is completed, those lucky students will be able to use the tube entrance off of West 14th Avenue Parkway.)
I will always call it the Ponti Building, since it was designed by Italian master architect, Gio Ponti, with Denver-based James Sudler. But then, when the Hamilton Building was complete, the building became the North Building, since one building was tagged with the name of the architect and the other the name of a major donor. And now, because of a $25 million lead gift from Board Chairman Lanny Martin and his wife, Sharon, it has become the Martin Building. John and Anna Sie provided the $12 million for the Welcome Center.
The $150 million project includes $35.5 million in funding through the city’s general obligation bond initiative approved by voters in November 2017. The building, which opened in 1971, will mark its 50th anniversary in 2021, thus Vision 2021, the capital campaign that has made the project happen and when the building will reopen.
Below are links to a story in Denverite about the council committee meeting, a link to information about the project on the museum’s website, and a link to view the council committee meeting, about 25 minutes long
The image at the very top of this post was taken on the day the Ponti building had its last visitors in November 2017: The stairway walls show off colorful tiles, the same type of tiles that create the glistening exterior of Denver’s castle of art.