In the Making: The History of Architecture in Denver

For the last few months, a fellow friend and writer and I have been working on photography and editorial for a piece on the history of architecture in Denver. Shooting the different buildings challenged me in ways I didn't expect and brought me to a new level of appreciation for architecture and those that attempt to photograph it. 

I wanted a place to show all the pictures that I loved from the months of work without bombarding my main page. There is also a link to the story for 303 Magazine, the #1 hit on Google! 

Union Station (1894) is definitely one of my favorite buildings and places to be in Denver. The energy is very heavy and the ambiance carries the past with it through each renovation and addition. The outside stands sturdy and speaks volumes through it's structure, while the inside is even more magical and feels like a time warp the second you enter the door. 

I mean how amazing is that? This place is magnificent any time of year. 

I mean how amazing is that? This place is magnificent any time of year. 

Shooting the Denver International Airport was definitely something else. The location posed it's own challenges because most photographic spots of the Airport and Westin Hotel are hardly parking spaces...

The Westin Hotel (2015) towers over the airport as the new 'face' of the Front Range. The building allows for nature to be echoed back through its facade and greets each passenger whether arriving or departing, with a great image of the Colorado sky. 

Another building that presented a challenge was the Wells Fargo Bank Building (1980s). Not only the unique shape but the height alone was something that didn't cross my mind until I got there. It stands impressively in the sky as a symbol for turn of the century modern technology while also bringing light to catch the eye of the every day working people at ground level. 

On the subject of eye catching - this 'Sleeper House' from the 1960s juts out over I-70 just outside of Denver. I thought it was a relic for the vintage classic era in which the building was built. A time when everyone thought the future would hold much more mystery and awe than it does... and the building takes anyone back in time, regardless of if you were actually there or not. 

Colfax is certainly a living and breathing example of a timeless street. One of the longest stretching roads, it carries a vast array of shops, restaurants, and vibes. I love how the 'feel' of the past is so intact in Denver, especially through it's architecture, and in this case: neon lights. 

Just off of Colfax, you have 'Poet's Row' Area Houses and apartments, with names of buildings such as 'Hawthorne', 'Twain', and 'Dickinson' - reminding everyone through the decades of the great writers and influencers of the past. 

I shot this neighborhood at night because I feel that is the best time to capture the ambiance and electricity of this area. There is so much that has happened on these Capitol Hill alleyways and streets that comes alive at night. I wanted to photograph Poet's Row by the way it makes me feel. 

Right here in Capitol Hill off Colfax, down the street from the Capitol Building itself is one of the city's oldest churches. Gigantic and awe-inspired, now smack dab in the middle of a busy city block right next to a McDonalds and across the street from Chinese takeout, is a beautiful cathedral that made our list. It wasn't necessarily the best to photograph due to the construction on the body of the building, however that is only to be expected when salvaging something as old as this. 

Just five minutes north is my new favorite district, the River North, RiNo District. On one block, shipping containers have been converted into store and restaurant space. The recycle - reuse campaign is strong as environmental advocates in architecture and design make businesses work out of the cheapest foundations. I think this movement is important and unique, and I was surprised at how much you can do out of just the simplest design.

Taking over an older neighborhood is a new design in the Emerson Row House (2015). The symmetrical design and layout is bright and forces you to notice it in an area that hasn't seen new architecture in decades. Denver is truly a mix of the old and new all the way down to it's architecture. 

My Brother's Bar (1897) is the oldest standing bar in Denver. Truly a great place to be, and you would never know it from the outside. The name of the bar has a changed a few times since it was Paul's Place (a reference from 'On The Road' when Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady partied in our streets). Everything down to the trim on the walls just screams last century, and the burgers are perfect. 

Last but not least, a late edition to the list of buildings, but something I was glad I had the chance to see. The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory (1966). The amazing lines, shadows, lights, and formations coming from natural sky into the conservatory was brilliant to be a part of. The Botanical Gardens are definitely relaxing. The shape of the building is very much a part of it's surroundings and makes like it's own cement and glass flower in it's habitat of buildings. 

That's about it for the highlighted Denver buildings. It makes me want to photograph another city's historic value. There's so much to learn about, even from the buildings we live in every day.