There is no doubt that Denver and the surrounding areas have some of the best architecture in the world. The Mile High City has a style all its own. It’s populated with buildings ranging from old to new and everything in between. But what’s so special about Denver architecture? Why does it have such an iconic look when compared to other cities?
There’s a reason why so many buildings look like castles, with towers and turrets, deep archways, or even just big square windows. They are all designed in this fashion for good reason. They were inspired by medieval European architecture that was brought over during the gold rush in the 1800s.
This inspiration can be seen in modern buildings like the Brown Palace, which was built with a castle-like look and even includes an interior stained-glass dome that looks much like one found at a European cathedral.
The hotel’s design is so similar to these cathedrals that it has been nicknamed the “Cathedral of Commerce”. The reason for this is its resemblance to traditional churches. This made people want to visit for reasons other than just shopping or meeting up with friends.
The Brown Palace is one example. However, more modern buildings like Union Station and Gates Rubber Company also fit into this category.
The Unique Style of Denver Architecture
Just as there are some buildings that look like they could have been plucked directly from Europe, many of the others in Denver are just about impossible to find anywhere else. The unique style of Denver architecture is so distinct and eye-catching. And this is because it was originally created by architects who took inspiration not only from their own culture but also wanted to create something new for this growing city on the rise.
German immigrant William Lang was one of these people. Having never worked in architecture before, he took his savings and began investing them into real estate around the city– with great success.
Lang decided to use some of this money to build an opera house on Curtis Street. It featured a unique design that stood out from other places at the time because it didn’t have a lot of ornamentation. Instead, it focused more on the massive windows that brought in natural light.
The building stood out even more because it was built with red sandstone, which gave it an almost pinkish-orange glow from far away but also helped protect its exterior from weathering over time.
Bruno Julius Georg Glaser
Another influence was German architect Bruno Julius Georg Glaser. He was hired by John Brisben Walker in 1909 to design the Ideal Cement Building. This building is made of concrete but has an almost art-deco feel that makes it stand out from all other buildings in the city at the time.
Glaser’s most famous design was the “Blue Mustang”. This sculpture of a horse with glowing eyes has become an iconic image for Denver. It is located at the main entrance to Elitch Gardens Theme Park.
The Design District
Denver’s design district is one of the most unique places to visit for architecture enthusiasts. It holds some of these older buildings, like the Brown Palace. It also has some of these more modern structures that reflect how unique and eye-catching Denver’s architecture can be.
Just a few blocks away from Elitch Gardens Theme Park is this beautiful area with cobblestone streets and surrounding small shops. Many of the restaurants here are also housed in historic buildings, like the Crawford Hotel. It was built back when this area was still known as “Theater Row.”
Taking a deeper look at Denver’s unique and historical architecture is something that anyone can do. We should all take the time to go out there, explore our city streets, and discover what makes this place so special!