Student Researchers: Jackson ParnellFaculty Advisor: Ranko Ruzic
The particular goal of this studio project was to investigate the increasing necessity of verticality in public space, and how we can begin to condense these mixed-use "city block" type programs and loft them upward. The 16th Street Mall Complex comprises five floors, each of which varies from specific and specialized use to adaptable open-plan spaces. The building is encapsulated by an exterior structural wall that at once responds to and criticizes the building code and the context of the lower downtown Denver historic district. The wall is separated from the interior glass facade by a space of two feet, creating an edge condition bridged only by structural beams from interior columns bearing on the exterior wall.
The building accommodates multiple functions. The lowest, subterranean floor is given over to theaters and is accessed through large processional stairways that move through the center of the building. These stairs continue upward through two floors of open-plan, customizable retail space before reaching a media learning center and, finally, a lap pool and locker area on the top level. The diverse program is meant to dwell on how structural advancements and cultural changes alter the ways we make and use spaces. The project also explores the impact of codes and context on historic facades, and how conflicting forces can coexist.