In the summer of 2015, Continuum Partners contacted El Dorado with a unique urban design challenge in the Lower Downtown District of Denver: to design an entire city block from the ground up. Through a rigorous massing and architectural design review process, El Dorado has worked closely with Continuum’s development models to generate multiple site design iterations, ultimately landing on site strategies that deploy a high concentration of mixed-use urban density fronting Denver’s iconic 16th Street Mall.
Continuum had recently completed an innovative adaptive re-use renovation of nearby Union Station as a major downtown mixed-use multi-modal transportation hub, leaving our site, the former downtown bus terminal at 16th and Market, open for new development. Through careful attention to adjacent urban fabric of secondary arteries, lower density retail and residential has been introduced along Blake Street, Market Street and 17th Street.
El Dorado’s architectural strategies represent thoughtful responses to historically sensitive guidelines, freshly re-engaging masonry as an artisan craft through careful attention to fenestration and details. Leveraging LoDo’s historic service alleyways, the proposed urban design introduces the heart of the site to be an urban discovery, internal to the city block. The emphasis on “discovered” circulation establishes a new retail ecosystem: flagship retail facing perimeter streets and experimental local retail facing alleys and paseos.
The Architect set forth to celebrate Denver’s rich history of artisan brickwork and brick manufacturing. Multiple full-scale mock-ups were constructed to study brick patterns and textures, establishing a rich framework for “crafted urbanism.” Historically sensitive massing and fenestration strategies closely followed Lower Downtown Design Guidelines while a variety of brick articulations animated key site relationships and shifts in massing and building typologies. The architect worked closely with the developer and the Lower Downtown Design Review Board to sensitively respond to a surrounding historic context by re-engaging Denver masonry as an artisan craft. Central to this approach is celebrating contemporary brick detailing at an urban scale. Masonry facing the 16th Street Mall presents a strong urban edge through formal monolithic colors and deep-set fenestration patterns. Masonry facing historic Market Street steps down in scale to engage a more eclectic set of patterns and textures, evolving and changing across shorter facade bays. Masonry addressing 17th and Blake Street shifts to a more restrained palette, with inset textures in lieu of projecting textures. Zinc and Corten facade elements along Market and 17th Street serve as relief to the primary brick massing. The result is an exquisite urban expression that restores pride in the craft of Denver masonry and responds sensitively to its historic context without mimicking it.
The client desired an unexpected internal alley environment: a wolf in sheep’s clothing! The Architect introduced a sculptural pavilion to anchor alley pedestrian circulation and smaller-scale retail environments. The Basecamp Pavilion provides a physical framework for shading and the introduction of micro-climate controls. The structure also provides and important sense of human scale and offers a platform for public realm activation strategies
Albina Vision Trust Community Investment Plan. Portland OR. 2020-present.
AIA Oregon Design Excellence Honor Award (2022); AIA Central States Design Excellence Honor Award (2022); AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award (2022); ASLA Boston Design Excellence Honor Award (2022)
300 Kansas. San Francisco, CA. 2018-present.
First Vertical Light Industrial Building Typology to be Constructed Within the Urban Core of San Francisco
Market Station. Denver, CO. 2015-2020.
AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Honor Award (2022), AIA Oregon Design Excellence Award (2022)
Highlander Accelerator. Omaha, NE. 2015-2018.
AIA Kansas City Project of the Year Award (2019); AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Honor Award (2019); AIA Central States Design Excellence Honor Award (2019); Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award (2019); Azure Magazine Social Good Award, Finalist (2019)