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"KPMB Make the Old Work With the New in Denver"

Lloyd Alter
April 13, 2009 |

George Bush once said "I don't do nuance" and most big name architects don't either, subtlety not being a virtue among the stars of the profession. This was never true of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, who manage to weave their interventions tightly into the existing fabrics of historic buildings and districts. Their new mixed use project in Denver's Lower Downtown Heritage District (LoDo) demonstrates the point, picking up design cues from the neighbouring 1904 Sugar building.

Archdaily describes their approach to sustainable design:

The client’s specific functional and performance goals included building for longevity as a form of sustainability, achieving cost savings with energy efficient systems and enduring design, and creating an active street-related base to contribute to the revitalization of the district.

Technology is important, but so is beauty, building to last, and making the neighbourhood sustainable economically and culturally.

The KPMB partners learned how to integrate the new with the old when they worked for Barton Myers in Toronto.

They designed the Ontario Medical Association Headquarters (now the Chinese consulate) and carefully lined up all of the important elements of their building with a lovely historic mansion next door, which was promptly demolished and replaced with an ugly apartment building. Fortunately that is unlikely to happen to the Sugar Building."