You are here

Colorado History Museum and Colorado Judicial Building

-A A +A
1977, Rogers-Nagel-Langhart. 1300 Broadway

The Colorado History Museum is a three-story structure of gray brick (a marble skin was cut from the budget) forming a flat-topped triangle with three north terraces descending to an open courtyard. Primary exhibition space for the museum is located below ground, with offices, including the State Historic Preservation Office, on upper levels. Exhibits include a wonderfully detailed WPA diorama of Denver in 1860 and of the Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings. This museum building is a step down in design, materials, and location from its predecessor ( DV002).

The new museum shares its square-block site with the granite-clad, five-story Colorado Judicial Building, which relates to Civic Center with a cut-through opening at ground level. Standing on two legs straddling the first floor, this awkward white edifice disproves the theory that the grand public buildings of the City Beautiful era would inspire other noble structures. The four upper floors threaten to crush anyone walking through the cutout beneath them. The museum was supposed to front on Civic Center Park but the Supreme Court used its clout to flip the plan and take the park frontage. A raised skylight illuminates the subterranean law library, and a mural by Angelo di Benedetto depicts history's great lawgivers. The lack of an easily discoverable entrance may be a commentary on the labyrinthine legal system.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Thomas J. Noel
×

Data

What's Nearby

Citation

Thomas J. Noel, "Colorado History Museum and Colorado Judicial Building", [Denver, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/CO-01-DV003.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,