Going Up!

Buildings for the future.

In the past few weeks, there's been a plethora of news relevant to Denver's art and architecture scenes.

Denver's Creative Spaces Task Force, which is dominated not by artists but by city employees, was launched last January with much fanfare. I wasn't too excited, because I knew from past experience that the result would be a lot of sizzle but not a lot of steak -- by which I mean big ideas without the money to pull them off. And looking at the recommendations the group released last week, I was right. I mean, I love, love, love the idea of converting the McNichols Building on the Civic Center into a city museum, but there's no provision for funding it. In fact, the only component of the report that comes with money is a revolving loan fund that has a lousy $100,000 set aside.

Money surely won't be a problem for the Clyfford Still Museum, which will soon rise on a site immediately to the west of the new Frederic C. Hamilton Building. The abstract-expressionist had promised his hoard of more than 2,000 works to any American city that would build a museum to showcase them, and Denver took the bait. It's too bad the architect won't be from Denver; even more disappointing is that the architect will be Brad Cloepfil of Portland's Allied Works Architecture, whose greatest claim to fame is the destruction of Edward Durell Stone's 2 Columbus Circle in New York.

On the subject of lost opportunities in architecture, Denver's Justice Center inevitably springs to mind. In the wake of the unceremonious termination of superstar architect Steven Holl, his Denver collaborator, klipp, headed up by Brian Klipp, has taken over design duties for the courthouse element and has unveiled a good-looking proposal (pictured). Despite klipp's great track record, the city still doesn't trust it to do the job, so a group of architects has been assembled to look over the firm's shoulders. I think this was unnecessary. And anyway, don't too many cooks spoil the broth? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

 
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