Mark Her Words
I salute Patricia Calhoun for her May 16 "Razin' in the Sun," about losing Zeckendorf. At least someone is watching--and writing about--what's literally going down here.
In his May 30 letter, Tyler Gibbs chides Patricia Calhoun for "perpetuating the suspicion that DURA and the City are antagonistic to preservation." Unfortunately, those suspicions have already been confirmed in spades.
Zeckendorf Plaza was, without any doubt, one of the pre-eminent architectural complexes of Denver's twentieth century, a nationally significant work of I.M. Pei, the internationally respected Chinese-American architect. The coalition formed on behalf of preservation included respected community organizations such as Historic Denver, Denver AIA and the Colorado Historical Society and many other local, state and national groups and individuals. Then there was the unanimous support of the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission, the body of qualified citizens appointed by city ordinance to determine the significance of Zeckendorf Plaza to the community.
This coalition was fully supportive of redevelopment, ready to accept a recladding, additional floors and a center atrium for the "box," as well as the conversion of the skating rink plaza to an entrance drive. Just leave the paraboloid as a spectacular lobby and bar--not too much to ask in exchange for $33 million in taxpayer dollars.
But Fred Kummer wanted it his way or not at all. So DURA, in its so-called Design Values, immediately gave it away: "It may be possible that if the paraboloid is not retainable for convincing structural or programmatic reasons that a replacement structure of similar design excellence may be able to fulfill the same role in the architectural and urban design composition of the complex."
Now the hyperbolic paraboloid isn't even in its grave, and Tyler Gibbs of Denver Planning is already admitting that "we need to prevent debacles like the Adam's Mark in the future."
Mayor Webb, the Denver City Council, the Planning Office and DURA will bear the shame of this ill-conceived project for generations to come. There's no reward for failure, Mr. Gibbs, no matter how hard you've worked to achieve it.
It is good that the Adam's Mark Hotel wants to invest in Denver's future, but not by destroying its past. It is gratifying that the Adam's Mark Hotel wanted to come to Denver because of our potential economy and our unique heritage, but not to have them, ironically, eradicate part of that heritage. And even more ironically, the modern part. Since we in Denver are, also ironically, subsidizing the Adam's Mark project--to have the pleasure of watching the ravaging of the "Pei Pyramid"--you could certainly say we are getting great demolition value for our dollars. Before we sacrifice the "Pei Pyramid" on the altar of expediency, cannot the people and officials who have the power to protect our landmarks find another way?
I love Westword. Thank God we have at least one publication in the area with credibility! But speaking of credibility, I was dismayed to read M.S. Mason's May 23 review of Prelude to Lime Creek. Although I thoroughly disagreed with the review (enough to see the play twice), that is not my complaint. I wonder if Mason actually attended the performance? Gary Burr was not in it. (Gary Barnhill was.)
I appreciate good critical reviews of movies, theater and musical performances; however, I expect the critic to have seen the performance and report factually about the "who, when and where."
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