Architect Rick Epstein sees so much potential in Boulder's built environment. "Boulder, while it's a really beautiful city — the built environment is pretty bad. Denver, architecturally, is way more interesting," he says. Epstein hopes to change that — and tonight, as part of Month of Modern, the architect from Studio Completiva will lead "Imagine a Great City," a panel discussion on what could be the future of Boulder. Kicking off a series of talks focused on design, this opening event at Etown Hall is in partnership with conversation starter Ignite Boulder. Architects, people from the arts community, cyclists, local realtors, environmentalists and more have been invited to share their visions for the urban landscape.
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Growth across the Front Range — combined with upcoming ballot initiatives focused on development in Boulder and a round of city council seats opening up there — makes the topic a hot one, says Epstein, who's currently working on the redesign of Boulder's civic area. Denver's transformation since the 'early 80s — when mayoral candidate Federico Pena urged voters to "Imagine a Great City" — could be a model for what Boulder can aspire to, he notes: "Denver has changed and I think some of it has been by thinking big. Big, strategic moves like infrastructure investment and bold action from the private sector. Looking at public/private projects like Union Station and Anschutz Medical Campus, the redevelopment of Stapleton, DIA, Coors Field, Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library downtown, the Colorado Judicial Center, the Denver Convention Center — it's a pretty impressive list of what has happened in that timeframe."
Epstein has been involved in projects across the metro area and has seen first-hand the positive effects of community conversation about good design — and Month of Modern has definitely made an impact. Now in its second year, Month of Modern will host events weekly throughout October. Next Tuesday, the question of what makes a city sustainable will be tackled by the "Responsible Innovation" panel. The following week, design teams will work with color and its role in Boulder's growing landscape. The month-long celebration will wrap with a big party at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art celebrating local architects and others crucial to the future of the city.
For more information, a full list of events and participants and tickets to design-minded gatherings happening throughout October, visit Month of Modern's website.