Best New Building — Downtown (2012)

History Colorado Center

Though it won't officially open until late April 2012, it's not too early to rate the urbane History Colorado Center a rousing architectural success. The 200,000-square-foot building was designed to house all the functions of the Colorado Historical Society — including offices, event facilities and a replacement for the thirty-year-old museum, whose former spot a block away is now part of the still-under-construction state justice center. The price tag on this stunner was over $110 million, but it got a jump start in 2010 with the issuance of Build America Bonds, part of the federal stimulus program to fund "shovel-ready" public projects. The sleek neo-modernist building, with its canted volumes and dramatic cantilevered cornice, is clad in dull limestone and detailed with shiny aluminum and even a touch of rusted steel. It's the crowning achievement of its designer, Tryba Architects (headed by David Tryba) — and, along with the nearby Wellington Webb building, the firm's second great contribution to the greater Civic Center.

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