Denver is a great city, so why the bad buildings?

Denver is a great city, so why the bad buildings?
David Baker Architects, a respected California-based firm, designed an affordable senior housing project in San Francisco called Armstrong Senior Housing.
© Roth Sheppard Architects

The rapid growth of Denver’s residential urban core is on most everyone’s radar today, yet as our city’s unprecedented development boom continues unabated, a troubling shift has begun to reveal itself to all but the most casual observer.

As downtown Denver has become increasingly densified with block after block of repetitive five-story, stick-framed rental apartments stacked on top of (or connected to) massive concrete parking structures, banality has begun to quietly replace the well-designed historic buildings that once populated our urban core. Meaningless, uninspiring structures that feature mere surface variation rather than genuine innovation seem to be the zeitgeist of the day.

We’re talking about a huge volume of housing here. In April 2014, the Downtown Denver Partnership stated in its Downtown Denver Economic Update for 2014 that “residential development in downtown Denver and the City Center Neighborhoods continues to thrive with 7,170 rental units and 1,173 for-sale units under construction or planned.” []