Kirkland Museum
Best Project and Judges’ Special Recognition

Owner: Mascarenaz & Associates
Lead Design Firm: Olson Kundig 
General Contractor: Shaw Construction
Structural Engineer: KL&A Inc.
Civil Engineer: Creative Civil Solutions 
MEP Engineer: MKK Consulting Engineers Inc. 
Key Subcontractors: Colorado Hardscapes; Encore Electric; Mammoth Moving & Rigging Inc.; Schnabel Foundation Co.

The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Arts presents the work of Denver artist Vance Kirkland and contains more than 30,000 pieces by nearly 1,500 other artists and designers. The 40,000-sq-ft museum incorporates Kirkland’s old studio, built in 1910, as well as other galleries in an impressive blending of old and new.  

The juxtaposition of the two architectural styles—Kirkland’s original studio and the new gallery spaces—pays homage to his contributions to contemporary art. The exterior is clad with gold and yellow terra-cotta baguettes, glass, metal and Swiss-pearl panels. Interior finishes include contemporary lighting systems and rich brown terrazzo-and-wood flooring, warmly painted gallery spaces and decorative glass panels.

But the building itself is only half the story. The 70-ft-long masonry studio had to be moved more than two miles through downtown Denver to its new site. The move took 31 hours over two days. Streets were closed and a long list of neighbors, agencies and affected parties—including the mayor of Denver—had to be notified.  The move required a rolling road closure through 13 light-controlled intersections. Two electrical crews with boom-lift trucks removed light posts ahead of the moving studio and reset them after the building passed. Two semi-trucks and a front-end-loader were chained to the structure and functioned as brakes as it moved down a 6% slope. Hundreds of spectators, city officials and media watched as the old studio was taken to its new home.

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