Denver is experiencing an architectural renaissance these days, perhaps most notably in its construction of new museums.
Daniel Libeskind's addition to the Gio Ponti–designed Denver Art Museum opened on Oct. 7. The Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver is raising funds for a new building, designed by architect David Adjaye of London. And on Nov. 6, three architecture firms will present their designs for the Clyfford Still Museum, which will be making its home in the city by 2009.
The firms tapped by the Clyfford Still Museum are Allied Works Architecture of Portland, Ore.; New York–based Diller Scofidio + Renfro; and Olhausen DuBois Architects, also based in New York. The three were chosen in September after the selection committee interviewed five semifinalists.
In an interview a few days before the announcement of the finalists, museum director Dean Sobel described all of the semifinalists as “more subtle in terms of forms and materials and less iconic [in their approach],” adding that the selection committee has “built into the process the understanding that [the museum] is much more about the content than the appearance.” A salient point, since the building will exhibit the life's work of a single artist, abstract expressionist Clyfford Still.
When Still died in 1980, the vast majority of his art seemed to disappear with him. Still's estate held 90 percent of his output, and his will stipulated that the art would be given only to an American city willing to build a museum devoted solely to his work. For nearly a quarter-century, however, none was successful in its negotiations with the artist's widow, Patricia Still. Until Denver came calling, that is. In 2004, she agreed to bequeath her late husband's collection to the city; after her death in 2005, the city received about 400 more pieces of art as well as the artist's archives.
Sobel says that the selection committee will announce its final architect choice by early 2007. The 30,000-square-foot museum is expected to cost between $12 million and $20 million.