Doors Open Denver admires buildings around town

Doors Open Denver offered free tours of both historic and modern architecture. Photo: Mailys Steiblen ∙ The Sentry

Doors Open Denver offered free tours of both historic and modern architecture.
Photo: Mailys Steiblen ∙ The Sentry
Auraria now included in architecture celebration

On Sept. 22 and 23, the Denver Architecture Foundation held the Doors Open Denver (DOD) tours at over 50 locations around the city. This was the first time locations on the Auraria campus were part of the tour. Buildings such as the Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center, the Metro Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building, and other locations were all open to visitors for guided and self-guided tours. 

The guided tours were “history based and education based” as Tivoli Station bartender, Thomas Zavadil, explained. 

When asked if Denver has architecture that improves or diminishes the quality of life, local architecture buff Ellwood Ervin said, “It improves, but there’s always a struggle to keep things conserved.”

There is a growing concern for conserving older buildings within the city. DOD volunteer, Crystal Peccia, had this to say about the quality of life reflection in our architecture: “Some of the historical [buildings] improve. The new architecture, no.”

There is still a general consensus among most Denver citizens that the buildings provide a livable environment, which plays a very important role in society.

“I think it shapes society, and without it, we wouldn’t be who we are today,” said Julianna Mestas, an architecture student at CU Denver. Mestas was volunteering at the Metro site, St. Cajetan’s Center.

CU  Denver has a lot to brag about when it comes to societal contribution in the form of building design.

The Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center is not only a recreational facility for CU Denver students, but also involves a unique design meant to portray what seems to be community. The uniqueness of the design is due to add-ons that were built around the initial building plan, or as referred to by the employees, “the spine.”

The walls on the northeast side of the building are also at an angle, so that mirrors on the third floor reflect the city skyline. Not only does the building use the skyline to impart this sense of community, but since it bends with Speer Boulevard to do so, the building is curving with the road itself. This would make it seem as if there were unity between Speer and the building, and thereby with the rest of the city.

It is important to note that the Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center was voted on to be built by the student body, so the building is almost entirely a reflection of society.

The Tivoli building is also a significant part of the tour. It has gone through many changes over the years due to new ownership and student-body influence. Since it was built, new wings have been added on, and the purpose of the complex has changed a multitude of times.

Architecture has such a profound yet masked effect on our lives, and the Doors Open Denver tours are a great way of experiencing this art form up close.

The people of Denver clearly believe that structures reflect quality of life and society. Both the city of Denver and CU Denver not only improve but supplement the betterment of the community as indicated by the buildings within them.

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