Each of the three principal sides will have significant entrance portals, and there will also be an entrance on the side that adjoins the parking garage and service entrance on the only flat side, the one on the north. Though it's hard to say which one of the street-side entrances is the principle one, the entry facing Broadway is the most monumental and ceremonial-looking, while the one on 12th Avenue will lead into the grandest of the interior spaces.

The design is aesthetically related to other important Tryba buildings, including the Wellington E. Webb Building and the addition to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, particularly in the handling of the windows. But the principal material on the exterior walls is different from what's on those buildings, with the History Colorado Center being clad in light-colored limestone. This is the perfect material to give the building a sense of civic pride, and it links it to the stone-covered structures that line the nearby Civic Center.

The handling of the limestone is interesting, with horizontally raked joints creating stripes along the length of the building, thus providing visual interest. Additional appeal is provided by extensive windows detailed with prominent horizontal divisions done in silver-colored metal. These relate to the stripes in the limestone, creating an intriguing appearance.

The History Colorado Center, by David Tryba.
The History Colorado Center, by David Tryba.

The building will rise four stories, but considering the function of the history center, these levels will be taller than usual to accommodate exhibition material and will have reinforced floors to allow for the display of heavy pieces. An underground level will contain space for expansion, offices and workshops.

Changes may be made, but as it stands now, there are clearly defined uses for each of the upper floors. The main level will include a lobby accessed off of Broadway, as well as a restaurant. Just off the lobby will be a gift and book shop. A wide corridor dividing offices will connect the lobby to the great hall, with an entrance on 12th Avenue that will rise to the top of the building, some eighty feet above the floor. Off the great hall will be an auditorium, an exhibition space, and a stair tower that's expressed on the exterior.

Level two will have a pair of large galleries, collection storage and the library. There will also be a dramatic overlook of the great hall, a feature that will appear on the third and fourth levels, as well. Nearly all of the offices for staff will be on level three. Level four will have two additional galleries, a boardroom, a space for community functions and a covered porch facing west, with a view of the mountains.

Tryba's History Colorado Center promises to be a worthy addition to a neighborhood that already has buildings by the likes of Gio Ponti, Michael Graves and Daniel Libeskind. After our meeting ended, I told Tryba that I liked about 80 percent of what he's done over the years. "Ninety percent," he countered with a smile. I'm not so sure, but I do like this, his latest effort.

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