02:00 pm - 03:30 pm
Denver Modernism Week, LLC
During the course of his career, Gass worked on projects with I.M. Pei’s firm and had an opportunity to get the know the great architect first-hand. Gass will discuss the design merits of Pei’s remaining works in downtown Denver, how they have been altered by insensitive alterations to the original designs, and the story behind the lost fight to save Pei’s distinctive paraboloid structure that was part of the May D&F department store in Zeckendorf Plaza.
Early in I.M. Pei’s architecture career, he came to work in-house for New York developer William Zeckendorf and his company Webb & Knapp, who in the mid-1950s were developing major projects across the country, including downtown Denver. The Mile High Center at 1700 Broadway, completed in 1955, was the first highrise commission of I.M Pei’s career. Soon after, Webb & Knapp developed the Hilton Hotel at 16th & Tremont (now the Sheraton), and Zeckendorf Plaza, which included a May D&F department store across the street from the hotel; all designed by Pei. Years later, the firm Pei, Cobb, Freed designed the original segment of the 16th Street Mall, running from Broadway to Market Street.
Outside Denver, Pei designed Boulder’s Mesa Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which in contrast to his work in Denver, is one of the best-preserved examples of I.M. Pei’s architectural legacy.
Atrium at 1700 Broadway (formerly Mile High Center)
Denver, CO, US, 80202