Folks in the Kmart that anchors Broadway Marketplace claim that a sheriff patrols this parking lot until the Albertsons closes at midnight, but after that, the bland strip of paved land becomes the envy of Bandimere Speedway. Several nights a month, usually on weekends, Denver's illegal racers congregate here to make use of the tree-median slaloms, ample exits and close access to Alameda, Broadway and I-25. Denver police have winked when speaking to Kmart employees and local residents about a pending sting, but the lot remains open at night for light-rail users. And our speed racers -- engines revving, lights low -- move fast between the different race courses on their circuit, sometimes stopping only to plan the next move and then peel out.


The elevated portion of I-70 that cuts across north Denver is an ugly behemoth that scarred the Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods -- which is one reason there's talk of moving the highway out of there. In the meantime, though, as part of a bigger effort to ennoble ignoble spaces along I-70, the Colorado Department of Transportation commissioned artists to do murals. Among them was Martha Daniels, who, in her biggest piece ever, festooned the Washington Street underpass with "Currents and Eddies," a tile mural. Using both ready-made and artist-made tiles, the mural abstractly conveys the nearby Platte River -- and does so beautifully. In this case, at least, CDOT made the best of a bad situation.
The elevated portion of I-70 that cuts across north Denver is an ugly behemoth that scarred the Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods -- which is one reason there's talk of moving the highway out of there. In the meantime, though, as part of a bigger effort to ennoble ignoble spaces along I-70, the Colorado Department of Transportation commissioned artists to do murals. Among them was Martha Daniels, who, in her biggest piece ever, festooned the Washington Street underpass with "Currents and Eddies," a tile mural. Using both ready-made and artist-made tiles, the mural abstractly conveys the nearby Platte River -- and does so beautifully. In this case, at least, CDOT made the best of a bad situation.
Hangar 61, one of the last remnants of Stapleton Airport, is a masterful, mid-century modernist structure with a dramatic form that resembles a cluster of pie slices but is actually a composition of fragmentary hyperbolic arches held in place by massive concrete anchors. Built to house Ideal Basic Cement Company's corporate plane, it's so stylish that it looks like James Bond could have used it. It was designed by Fisher and Fisher and Davis, a Denver firm that traced its origins to William Ellsworth Fisher, an architect responsible for several LoDo landmarks. The organization ultimately evolved into the Davis Partnership, which is currently collaborating with Daniel Libeskind on the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building. Despite its noble lineage, Hangar 61 is threatened with demolition: Its fate will be determined by the Denver City Council this spring.
Hangar 61, one of the last remnants of Stapleton Airport, is a masterful, mid-century modernist structure with a dramatic form that resembles a cluster of pie slices but is actually a composition of fragmentary hyperbolic arches held in place by massive concrete anchors. Built to house Ideal Basic Cement Company's corporate plane, it's so stylish that it looks like James Bond could have used it. It was designed by Fisher and Fisher and Davis, a Denver firm that traced its origins to William Ellsworth Fisher, an architect responsible for several LoDo landmarks. The organization ultimately evolved into the Davis Partnership, which is currently collaborating with Daniel Libeskind on the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building. Despite its noble lineage, Hangar 61 is threatened with demolition: Its fate will be determined by the Denver City Council this spring.


Denver School of Science and Technology
Early this year, Governor Bill Owens and Mayor John Hickenlooper presided over the grand opening of a new charter school. Built on land donated by Stapleton developer Forest City, the Denver School of Science and Technology is aimed at high school students with a gift for math, science and high tech. But whether they notice or not, the students will also be exposed to art: the sophisticated neo-modern building designed by Denver architect Brian Klipp, a rambling, exaggeratedly horizontal form carried out in silvery gray metal, painted stucco and scorched bricks. There are any number of stylistic flourishes on view -- corner windows, ribbon windows and eyebrow sun screens -- but the most spectacular is the entry pergola created from canted wooden beams and steel cable riggings. This cool school gets an A+ for style.
Early this year, Governor Bill Owens and Mayor John Hickenlooper presided over the grand opening of a new charter school. Built on land donated by Stapleton developer Forest City, the Denver School of Science and Technology is aimed at high school students with a gift for math, science and high tech. But whether they notice or not, the students will also be exposed to art: the sophisticated neo-modern building designed by Denver architect Brian Klipp, a rambling, exaggeratedly horizontal form carried out in silvery gray metal, painted stucco and scorched bricks. There are any number of stylistic flourishes on view -- corner windows, ribbon windows and eyebrow sun screens -- but the most spectacular is the entry pergola created from canted wooden beams and steel cable riggings. This cool school gets an A+ for style.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Old downtown Aurora has gotten pretty rundown over the years -- and that's precisely why the city's officials have put so much time and money into revitalizing it. The centerpiece of their efforts is the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a downright glamorous-looking neo-modern building by Michael Brendle that opened last year. The facility, which also houses city offices, is constructed of gray brick accented by big sheets of ethereal blue-tinted glass, with rectangular volumes stepping in and out of the main pavilion. The structure is striking and has become an instant landmark -- but Aurora will need more than that to get this grungy area back on track.
Old downtown Aurora has gotten pretty rundown over the years -- and that's precisely why the city's officials have put so much time and money into revitalizing it. The centerpiece of their efforts is the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a downright glamorous-looking neo-modern building by Michael Brendle that opened last year. The facility, which also houses city offices, is constructed of gray brick accented by big sheets of ethereal blue-tinted glass, with rectangular volumes stepping in and out of the main pavilion. The structure is striking and has become an instant landmark -- but Aurora will need more than that to get this grungy area back on track.


The old Tivoli brewery that now serves as the Auraria Higher Education student center received a couple of interior updates after it quit shipping suds in 1969. But it wasn't until last year that the seven-story, circa 1890 building got a facelift that stripped away years and many layers of paint, making it a worthy landmark at the edge of downtown.

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