The Denver Art Museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building extension helped the museum to become one of Denver’s most notable and recognizable landmarks. It has been featured in multiple publications such as ARCHITECT Magazine, Arch Innovations, Structure Magazine, and Arch Daily. The museum also won a Presidential Award at the American Institute of Steel Construction’s 2007 Awards for Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel.
The unique extension is 146,000 square feet, covered in 9,000 titanium panels, and has a complex geometry with sharp, angular forms. None of the planes are parallel or perpendicular to one another, which is a design not often seen or successfully achieved. Lead architect Studio Daniel Libeskind stated the design was inspired by the peaks of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the geometric rock crystals found in the foothills. The design was also inspired by the vitality and growth of Denver. While the museum has become a famous structure in Colorado and beyond, there were many challenges when creating the museum extension.
One challenge the architects and engineers faced was designing the building for the atmospheric effects, temperature, and weather conditions unique to Denver. Executive architect Davis Partnership hired CPP to conduct multiple wind tunnel tests on the building design. CPP first conducted wind tunnel studies to determine wind cladding pressures, structural loads, and pedestrian wind comfort. CPP then conducted a snow deposition study to determine snow drifts and snow loads, and analyzed historical records of snow-melt-freeze cycles to estimate potential for icicle formation at the roof edges.
CPP’s studies assisted in completing the Denver Art Museum to effectively withstand adverse weather conditions, ensure pedestrian comfort, and convey Denver’s vast liveliness and expansion through an architecturally unique structure. CPP was honored to help with such a distinguishable Colorado landmark.