With annual visitor numbers growing from 100,000 in the 1970s to 850,000 in 2017, the Denver Art Musuem sought to enliven every square foot of space in the Martin Building; provide visitor-centric amenities in the Sie Welcome Center; and as expressed by DAM’s Director Christoph Heinrich, to “reinvest in this architectural gem and make it shine for the next 50 years.”
The project included renovations to the 229,000-square-foot Martin Building and construction of the new 50,000-square-foot Sie Welcome Center. The iconic Martin Building is the only completed structure in North America designed by renowned Italian architect Gio Ponti. The Martin Building renovation realizes elements of Ponti’s original concept, expands gallery spaces, provides a new conservation laboratory, and increases the DAM’s capacity to serve youth through its educational programming, as well as improves campus connectivity and building systems.
Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects are the design team behind the project, slated for the official opening in time for the 50th anniversary in 2021. Saunders Construction served as the construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC).
In November 2017, voters approved $35.5 million through the City and County of Denver’s (CCD) general obligation bond initiative to help fund key infrastructure and safety upgrades for the Martin Building and the DAM raised the remaining funds toward the capital campaign. With the DAM receiving financial support from CCD, Saunders was required to meet a minority and women owned (M/WBE) participation goal of 20 percent as well as pilot the first Workforce Development program resulting in 402 individual new hires (179 of those as apprentices) to work on the project.