| Art |

Huzzahs for the MCA!

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The sleek and chic Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver (1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, www.mcadenver.org), designed by African-born British architect David Adjaye, has won a lot of praise around here for its high style and its incredible functionality and flexibility. Now it’s starting to win awards in Adjaye’s hometown of London as well. On June 27, at the annual dinner of the Royal Institute of Architects, Adjaye will receive the RIBA International Award for design excellence in a building done outside of Great Britain. This is not Adjaye’s first RIBA prize; he has previously won for his Idea Stores, which are branch libraries, and for Rivington Place in London.

Regarding the MCA building, the RIBA jury statement reads in part: “The commission – Adjaye's first in the United States – was to design a building that was a) environmentally efficient; b) fiscally responsible (i.e. one that would come in within the tight $16.3 million budget – it did; and c) and most intriguingly, one that supports rather than defines the museum's mission. Here, clearly, is a client who is not star-struck, for all the international eminence of the architect. Maybe too many arts clients are just that, meaning that the resulting buildings are better billboards than galleries, better at advertising themselves than showing off the art inside…There is a tough materiality to these white and black cubist spaces and timber soffits that can only enhance the art. And rather than adopting a one-size fits all approach, rooms are tailored volumetrically for different media. But it is in the acceptance of light – strong mid-western light at that – that the gallery differs from most.”

Of course, there is a little confusion about U.S. geography -- after all the Midwest is typically more overcast than the west, where skies are not cloudy all day. Still, Denver didn’t need a bunch of professional aesthetes from overseas to tell us how good the MCA building is. But it sure is nice that they did. -- Michael Paglia

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.