Gary Isaacs Offers 36 Looks at the Lion's Lair -- With the Denver Broncos UK Live at Leon

Gary Isaacs
Over the time that Gary Isaacs has been photographing Denver landmarks, he's become something of a local landmark himself. The photographer has a show up at Leon Gallery, 36 Views of the Lion's Lair, which runs through January 4. As Isaacs recalls the inspiration for the series,he was just back from visiting an uncle in New York City, and "I was walking past the Lion's Lair for the zillionth time when it spontaneously occurred to me that it might be interesting to make a series of photographs all anchored by at least some portion of the Lion's Lair facade.... It's as simple as that. These images are photographs of both the Lion's Lair itself and of moments visually sandwiched between myself and the facade of the Lion's Lair."

See also: Leon and NIne More Unexpected Places to Throw Your Holiday Party

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See the Winners of the 2014 Mayor's Design Awards Tonight

Aria Apartments, a 2014 winner.
Tonight Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver's Community Planning and Development Department will honor fifteen projects for excellence in architecture, design and place-making during the 2014 Mayor's Design Awards ceremony at The Studio Loft of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. "This year's winning projects are phenomenal examples of what makes Denver a vibrant city," Mayor Michael Hancock said in announcing the winners. "From homes to restaurants to community gathering places, this city is developing such unique places for the Denver community for years to come."

And unlike in previous years -- the awards have been handed out since 2005 -- the winners this year are largely new projects.

See also: See the Winners of the 2013 Mayor's Design Awards</em>

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Denver Modern Home Tour Shows Off the Latest in Local Architecture

Courtesy of Denver Modern Home Tour.
One stop on the tour, 3510 West 18th Avenue in Denver, designed by Studio HT Architecture.
Walk around any neighborhood in Denver and it is easy to see how fast the city is growing -- new architecture seems to be popping up around every corner. This Saturday, October 25, four newly-built homes will open their doors to the public for a closer look as part of the annual Denver Modern Home Tour. See these new builds from the inside out and get to know some of Denver's top designers and architecture firms through their work on this one-of-a-kind tour focusing on the best in contemporary living spaces.

See also: Ken Schroeppel's DenverInfill blog keeps a close eye on the city's growth and development

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Five Reasons Why It Would Be Stupid To Demolish Boettcher Concert Hall

Categories: Architecture

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Boettcher Hall is the home of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

I've never been a big fan of the City & County of Denver when it comes to architectural and artistic decisions. They've repeatedly dropped the ball on everything from I.M. Pei's Zeckendorf Plaza, which was demolished in 1996, to the proposed destruction of Civic Center Park's beauty in 2006, to running starchitects like Steven Holl and Santiago Calatrava out of town. And now those big thinkers are at it again with a plan to raze the Boettcher Concert Hall -- which is part of the Denver Performing Arts Complex -- and replace it with an outdoor amphitheater. News about the plan broke in July, when Colorado Symphony Orchestra chief executive officer Jerry Kern revealed a series of e-mails between himself and Kent Rice, director of the city's Arts & Venues Department, who said that demolition was the leading plan. (See our related story on the CSO's Jerry Kern.)

Hopefully, this idiotic scheme is now dead in the water. But this is Denver, so you never know. With that in mind, here are five reasons why destroying Boettcher is one of the city's most wrongheaded ideas in recent memory.

See also: Jerry Kern Has Made a Lot of Noise With the CSO -- But Can It Survive Discord With the City?

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Back in time: Modern in Denver recalls the last days of Cinderella City
All images by Ron Pollard, courtesy of Modern in Denver and the artist.
When the Cinderella City mall opened its doors in Englewood in the '60s, it was state of the art in an almost Disney-esque fashion, all light and fountains and lofty arches, with a movie theater and the quaint Cinder Alley, a tchotchke lane where the hippie kids shopped. But, like many pop-culturey things, Cin City wasn't built to last. By the '90s, not only had the poorly built structure begun to crumble away, but the mall had lost business to more up-to-date shopping centers. It's gone now, replaced by the bustling Englewood City Center and light rail stop, but during the months before it was demolished, photographer Ron Pollard (who's made more recent news for his collection of what appears to be Russian avant-garde paintings) went in and shot images of the dilapidated palace of commerce.

Modern in Denver magazine printed a spread of the photos in its Summer 2014 issue and online; here's a sample that might jog a few memories of past suburban glory, along with Amy Phare's text from the article.

See also: Ruin porn: Inside the Gates Rubber Factory

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Ken Schroeppel's DenverInfill blog keeps a close eye on the city's growth and development

Ryan Dravitz for DenverInFill.
A city in transition: Ryan Dravitz of the DenverInfill team takes many of the site's recent shots.
Ever wonder what the plans are for a construction site that has popped up at the end of your block? Have you been curious about a new face being put on an old building downtown? For close to a decade, Ken Schroeppel has been answering these questions, documenting Denver's development progress through his blog DenverInfill and its companion, DenverUrbanism.

By day, he's an urban planner and professor of architecture and planning at the University of Colorado Denver -- but in his free time, Schroeppel and his team of contributors connect with developers, architects and an array of folks in the construction field to create a detailed database of the city's current and upcoming construction projects.

Westword spoke with Schroeppel about his long-running DenverInfill blog, how he collects his information on new buildings and the role of preservation within the development of Denver.

See also: The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

One of architect Richard Crowther's many designs.
Tom Lundin is an accidental historian: Through blog and The Denver Eye, his Facebook page, he shares images of the Mile High City's fascinating past. Lundin's collection is a curated mix of images that tell the story of a great city, with everything from hundred-year old photos of Lakeside Amusement Park to snapshots of Colfax legend Sid King flanked by beautiful women to newspaper ads for the first King Soopers, which opened in the '40s.

Many of the photos, magazine clippings and postcards he shares are from his own collection; some are from his journeys through the archives at the Denver Public Library (which he is meticulous about crediting). Westword recently spoke with Lundin about his keen eye for Colorado-centric imagery, how he goes about sourcing the photographs and paper artifacts he displays, and what he's learned about Lakeside Amusement Park's not-so secret historical link to Freemasonry.

See also: Mary Voelz Chandler on Denver's demolition history and her updated architectural guide

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Ten huge resources for anyone who wants to build a tiny house

Categories: Architecture

By Tammy Strobel, Creative Commons
While tiny-house enthusiasts may live small, they publish huge quantities of books and websites each year.
Paying rent in a bloated market isn't working for you? Have the piles of stuff you've hoarded in your closets finally forced you to scream: "I'm ready for a purge"? Maybe you just want to live a simple, green life? If you are ready to start thinking about building a tiny house of your own (see this week's cover story, Could Tiny Houses Solve a Big Problem in Denver?), here are some of our favorite books and websites to get you going.

See also:
This tiny house caused a big stink

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40 West Arts is capturing West Colfax's history through commercial architecture

Courtesy of 40 West Arts.
8000 West Colfax, formerly the home of the Lakewood Theater, was built in 1950.
If you take a closer look, underneath layers of paint and decades of additions, there are gorgeous mid-century modern commercial structures along Colfax Avenue that have a story to tell. A sordid past is part of what makes the country's longest main street fascinating to some, but for Bill Marino and the non-profit 40 West Arts whose board he chairs, there's a desire to let onlookers know there is more to the avenue's colorful life than seediness.

Through a $50,000 state historical grant secured by 40 West Arts and the Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District, Marino and his crew of volunteers are hard at work on a historic resources survey. Cataloging more than 500 structures along West Colfax from Sheridan Boulevard to Simms Street, the organization's building a complete picture by taking a photographic inventory as well as speaking with people who live and work in the Lakewood corridor. Marino talked with Westword about what information is being collected with the grant and how he hopes the public will soon be able to enjoy the once-buried history of this section of the fabled Colfax Avenue.

See also: Will Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar light up Denver again?

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The Metlo proves development in Denver doesn't have to be ugly and destructive

The Broadway Plaza Motel back in the day.
I complain about the bulldozing of Denver's sometimes tacky but often unique cowtown-ish architectural history a lot. It wasn't that long ago that we weren't very cool; in my salad days of the early 2000s, I rented a sprawling two-bedroom apartment in a beautiful '40s-era building on Cheesman Park for $795. That time is gone -- which is why I am writing this from my six-foot-by-six foot room in a commune I share with five other people in a quaint joint on the west side.

I feel like I am constantly at odds with what developers seem to think will look cool in my sweet little city, but as Denver continues to grow, I understand that I cannot stand in the way of progress. Which is why I was surprised and, frankly, overjoyed to see what has been done with the old Broadway Plaza Motel at 11th and Broadway.

See also: New owner of Mayfair Center to renovate the mid-century modern shopping area

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