Design Element Caps New Parking Garage

Trammell Crow’s 17-story 1900 16th Street office tower in the Union Station district has topped off and is on track for its opening later this year. Included in the project is a parking garage at 15th and Delgany featuring ground-floor retail spaces and a newly installed design element meant to complement the Museum of Contemporary Art building across the street.

Perhaps you noticed in the past couple of weeks large brackets being installed on the garage’s 15th and Delgany corner? Those brackets now support large panels that collectively create a subtle design gesture to the MCA’s strong cubic form. Take a look:

Tryba Architects designed the 1900 16th Street project, including the parking garage design element. I think the silvery panels are a good addition to the corner. What do you think?

By | 2017-09-23T18:53:13+00:00 April 28, 2009|Categories: Infill, Transit-Oriented, Union Station, Urban Design|Tags: |36 Comments


  1. joeindt April 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

    You can put lipstick on a pig.. In Denver, trains aren't legitimate modes of transit, but a way to make driving easier. This town is obsessed with easy parking and easy driving. That garage is a hulking waste of space and a lovely traffic generator. It would be easier to drive to my original destination instead of being trapped in downtown traffic.

  2. joeindt April 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    PS: Goodbye Cal Marsella – You did good despite the politics of trying to please everyone.

  3. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Well, the fact is the garage has been built. OK, I am a bit surprised that development at this corner favored an above ground garage? Still, I think this screen does add a complementary touch to the Adjaye building.

  4. ed April 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I had noticed the brackets there, but I have to admit that I hoped for something a bit more substantial and interesting. It is a shame to have such a big parking deck at this prominent location, but at least this bit of design effort softens it a bit. Regardless, they could have been much more bold being across from the MCA. I might have gone with a black or even a white fascade instead of metal.

  5. toast2042 April 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Baby steps. Instead of "yet another garage" we've got one with ground-floor retail and a design element to soften the blow. Heck, RTD isn't even legally allowed to do that to it's own parking garages. I'm seeing the glass as half-full here.

  6. binford April 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Have to agree with the choir on this one. The number of parking spaces we're seeing within blocks of Denver's largest transit hub is wasteful, pure and simple. These garages do nothing for the area except encourage people to drive.

    That said, the panels are an improvement over nothing, and it's not the project's fault…the garage supports two (and eventually three) large towers…but Denver needs to be smarter.

    In the short term, I'm waiting for the new code that actually acknowledges proximity to transit and downtown when dictating minimum parking requirements.

    Long term, we all need to breathe deep, loosen our grips on the steering wheel, and let all those parking mandates go… it'll all turn out OK, I promise.

  7. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Um, not everyone already lives near an easily accessible transit option that would deliver them within steps of this new building. Changing the building code or not having parking garages doesn't really make sense until Fasttracks gets built to completion. If we don't have parking spaces at/near new biuldings no tennants will want to lease space and these buildings will sit empty b/c no one will want to work for a company that makes them take 3 buses or walk a half mile from a garage to get to work.

  8. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I'd rather have 5 parking garages than 5million surface parking lots. To me it makes sense. There are still plenty of people without a 'easy' option of public transportation, and a place to park will encourage them to still come downtown.

  9. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    ^ that's actually not true…and it's a common misperception.

    some people will always want to drive…however, new buildings that do not have parking can charge lower rents and companies in those buildings can be more profitable.

    here is what will happen in Denver when Fastracks is complete: people will start choosing there housing so that they are on a train line that gets them to work with zero or one transfer.

    denver is quite spoiled with TONS of street parking and lower-than-urban density in most areas. this is changing but the answer is not MORE parking (especially at our embedded commercial notes) as more parking just encourages more parking.

    instead, what denver needs to do is encourage much more density in the areas of change so that each neighborhood has its OWN 32nd / lowell, pearl street, etc. we'd see a great reduction in driving and whining about parking.

  10. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Well at least they tried.

  11. pizzuti April 28, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I'm surprised to see people so negative toward parking garages.

    We simply do not have the infrastructure right now to abandon cars completely. Too many people are not reasonable distance from a transit stop. They can drive to the parking garage before they hop on the transit system.

    A parking garage is like a hybrid car – still not a 100% renewable form of transportation but a huge step up from where we've been. It's a halfway step to a transit-oriented city.

    This is good because it eliminates the need for several surface parking lots that make downtown ugly and unwalkable, it looks much better and is more structurally interesting than a surface parking lot, and it uses less land than surface parking lots which means and it serves a denser urbanism.

    Besides, there are plans to put condos on top of this particular garage eventually.

    I don't know if this is intended to serve more of the neighborhood, or the office tower alone. But if it were up to me I'd put a few more garages in the neighborhood just to make it possible for people to put their cars somewhere while they get around the city via the public options that will connect to Union Station.

  12. Sacha Durand April 28, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I'm a little underwhelmed by the entire development, building and parking garage in all, but this at least makes it more interesting. It's good to have SOMETHING there, no doubt, as I can recall not that long ago when I wondered if that parking lot would ever amount to anything while walking over the Millennium Bridge.

  13. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    architectural masturbation.

  14. Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I think everybody needs to just relax. It is very idealistic to believe that urban cities don't have parking garages. But if you ever walk around New York, San Fransisco, Boston or Chicago you will see PLENTY of parking garages; even in the heart of the city. In the perfect world people wouldn't ever drive in from the suburbs, but this isn't the perfect world.

    Frankly, this is the perfect location for a garage. There isn't a single garage anywhere in the Riverfront Park/CPV area, and an attraction such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (which draws visitors from the suburbs) needs some close in parking. Once the ground floor retail space is filled, I think this will be a perfect addition to this corner.

  15. A test blog April 29, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I think it's great.

    What else are you going to put in that spot exactly? As far as retail uses go, it's a HORRIBLE spot. You have the CML directly behind it and the land runs up a hill pulling pedestrian traffic of 15th st. and dead-ending it at the CML. You will never support effective retail at that spot without MASSIVELY changing it's relationship to the street below it. They put retail on the about the only spot that has any pedestrian viability at all.

    The third phase of the project is supposed to add Condos above the garage as well, giving another use.

    I'm all for rethinking our parking requirements Downtown, but I think this is a responsible use of the space available.

  16. beyonddc April 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

    >if you ever walk around New York, San Fransisco, Boston or Chicago you will see PLENTY of parking garages; even in the heart of the cityNot above ground, you won't. Certainly you won't see many built recently. In fact, there is literally not a single above ground commercial parking garage in downtown Washington. I'm aware of only two garages, both of which were built by public institutions.

    Above ground parking garages are better than surface parking lots, but if Denver is still building garages then it is indicative that Denver still has a long way to go before it can claim to have "arrived" as a city.

    The garage step may be a necessary incremental one, but let's not pretend it's something we want around in the long term.

  17. Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Rant warning:

    I too am very underwhelmed by this whole project. It looks ‘OK’ right now because of the modern façade accents but it won’t be long before that start to look dated. I especially don’t like the giant wall on the west side of the tower. That is the main part you see coming into downtown from Auraria Parkway and it makes the tower look like a huge precast concrete parking garage with some metal fringe elements.

    I also think that the ‘real’ parking garage should not have placed so close to 15th. Yes, 15th is on a hill but there is also a walkway both above and along the underpass. A larger set back would help with this too. 15th is a major road that connects downtown to the Highlands and is very well traveled. To have a huge, uninviting parking garage fronting it in such a significant and up-in-coming neighborhood is a huge folly. I think underground would have been ideal but also having it aligned along the railroad tracks would have been more appropriate.

    Overall, I think if this project would have been done else where, like DTC, I would have no problems with it. But this is in a site with sooo much potential being centered between 15th St, Millenium Bridge, Riverfront area, and the Union Station development I can’t help but feel there was a huge opportunity missed here and we are stuck with something less than inspiring. I truly hope this project doesn’t set a precedent for future projects in that area.

    Ok, I feel better with that off my chest.

  18. Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    if you ever walk around New York, San Fransisco, Boston or Chicago you will see PLENTY of parking garages; even in the heart of the cityNot above ground, you won't.

    I disagree. I'd say that perhaps the most famous parking garages in the world are the two spiral garages in Chicago located along the river. I think a lot of the above ground garages you don't necessarily notice from the sidewalk because of ground floor retail – like the garage on the mail at 16th and Curtis. I don't think that that particular garage takes away from what otherwise might be at that location. Just my opinion. Obviously, you want garages to be the exception and not the rule, but if we could get build 5 or 6 new garages around downtown Denver and get rid of the surface lots, I'd say that is huge net-win for the city.

  19. Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I'm with 9:23. Never understood the attraction with this project (although I will admit it's better than the parking lot). It's basically DTC, meet LoDo.

  20. Richard April 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I guess it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.

  21. hIstorymystery April 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I'm with the garage haters, for sure. I disagree that the 1900 16th building will itself look dated–it's modern, and clean-looking, and does not resort to gimmicks. It's elegant. But the garage isn't, even with this metal screen on one corner. It's like a semi-transparent negligee–you can see what's underneath, and unfortunately it;s just a garage.

    On the Saturday of the recent Doors Open Denver event I took a tour of the nearby EPA Region 8 building, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that three-quarters of its two levels of underground parking spaces are not used by staffers–they sit empty because most EPA workers use alternative means of transportation to get to work. They may be a greener lot than most downtown workers, but this garage is not needed at its present size. Reducing it by half, and making everything but the entrance invisible from the street, would have been better.

  22. joeindt April 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

    The area has potential to be an urban village. There are a lack of roads (in the suburban sense) at the moment and has great transit options; and these are good things. The 2 lane roads there now are perfect for riding a bike, wide enough to feel safe pulling my daughter around, and have limited 'local' traffic. Instead the mentality is because it's downtown it has to be be a park and ride on steroids instead of an urban node. There are plans for more wide 4-laners like 15th, this massive garage, new office buildings with their own absurd parking ratios even with a massive train station, right next door. I don't even have to be dramatic when I say that this area won't be as good as it is now. Isn't that pathetic when you think about? We are about to spend millions more, and the end result is the area becomes less urban and less livable. I'm talking about the CPV in general, not the station itself.

  23. Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 10:25 am

    They should cover the cement walls with something more
    artistic and eye-pleasing, like the Parking Lot of the Convention
    Center or the moving tiles in the Spire. They it looks it is pretty
    plain, sure didn’t take a genius to come out with this idea.

  24. Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    "I don't even have to be dramatic when I say that this area won't be as good as it is now. Isn't that pathetic when you think about? We are about to spend millions more, and the end result is the area becomes less urban and less livable. I'm talking about the CPV in general, not the station itself." That is actually very dramatic. I lived on Little Raven for awhile, but it was a burden to walk through the vast expanse of nothingness that lies between the bridge and Union Station. The roads are laid out already, and once the buildings are in place – assuming it's not 15 parking garages, which is not in the plans I have seen – it will be a great urban enclave with very little through traffic because of the railroad tracks. Maybe it's better in imagination, but I still think the CPV will be a great spot in due time.

  25. Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I think the panels are dumb, bland and look too machine-made. A ceramic eye-catching hand-made screen with lots of colors would have been a lot more interesting and would have given that corner a sense of place and identity. Or why couldn't the museum across the street used this as a location to have an artist place a large commissioned piece of art?

  26. binford April 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    For those of you who say that not everyone lives near transit, there are over 60 park 'n' rides in the metro area, and the majority of them have express buses that go downtown. There's nowhere else in the metro area besides downtown that you can say this about, but this IS downtown. Let's not even get into all the new rail lines that are coming. I really don't want to sound elitist, but if you can't figure out how to get downtown without driving, then you've probably never taken a bus before in your life.

    For those of you who say that people need parking, fine. Nobody is telling developers that they can't build it. The market could do a great job with that. The problem is the contrary-we're telling them they HAVE to build it, when they could easily get away with less. It drives up costs for everyone.

    For those of you who say its a bad retail spot, that's fine too. (Is that ground floor retail on the garage, though?) There's still better uses than parking, including residential or office space.

    Downtown streets choke with traffic every rush hour and are waaay to wide the rest of the day, causing cars to speed and compete with pedestrians. It's all made possible by our endless parking supply. BeyondDC is right…it's one thing for us to have lots of parking, but the fact that we're still building it by the garagefull shows that we aren't learning.

  27. Will May 1, 2009 at 12:08 am

    it needs more planters and green… i know trees aren't completely sprung yet but…. yeah add some green please

  28. FrancoRey May 1, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Although I think the garage looks a bit bland right now, I think it will look MUCH better once Trammel Crow develops the planned condo tower atop the garage. Let's keep in mind, Trammel could have easily just felt that the garage needed NO ground floor retail, NO metal facade to soften its wall, NO plans for future residential units on top. Then how bad and absurd would we think this garage was? I for one am glad that Trammel Crow at least attempted to integrate a plain old garage to be more utilitarian and mixed use. Once the condo is built on top of this thing, how more different would it be from Spire 10 blocks away? Sure it's not 41 stories, but the condo will make it look as if it was built as a mixed use tower with a garage base.

  29. Anonymous May 1, 2009 at 12:38 am

    1900 16th is a Jekyll and Hyde. the glass side is simple and elegant…until you get to the frumpy concrete base. Then, there is the frumpy concrete back (front) of the building. It is commie block bad. Tryba lost it with that. The garage is just the icing on the ugly side of a cake.

  30. Jane Goodall May 1, 2009 at 11:33 am

    "Design Element"…they really should just actually DESIGN the building well instead of dressing it up afterward. Why can't the entire structure be a design element?

  31. Anonymous May 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I think there is a lot of elitist "you should be riding public transit talking" going on here. I couldn't be more thrilled that it works for you. It doesn't for me, I've tried it many ways. Right now top\ get in my car, go to the B-way park and ride and take the light rail downtown costs FAR more money than it should AND time. If I need to go somewhere else in town, then I've got duplicate fares. Yes light rail is great, I voted for more of it. It's a valid first step. The bus arguement is only partly valid. This type of office building and Gates HQ have people coming and going regularly for meeting, etc. This is a sprawled city. That isn't going to change ANYTIME soon no matter how much we want it to. This is not NY, SF, or Chicago nor are we going to be. We're Denver with OUR own set of infrastructure and unique problems.

    We've done great things with our downtown over the years. But, recognize reality here too. People need places to park with the way the city is laid out. This is one way to address it.

  32. greenboy May 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Jane G. you are so right. Design the building right the first time. It's like suburban homes built in the 60's. It looks to plain…lets tack on some shutters or other gingerbread crap. As for the funtion of the garages we need to add spaces for scooters and Urban(Smart) cars that take half as much space as the big SUV. And bike parking in the Garage.

  33. BS May 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I think it would have been more interesting if they had matched the red metal train overpass rather then the glass museum facade. The slope of the street under the tracks is more interesting to contrast with.

    The scale is too big for peds. Whoever had the comment about the mca commissioning an art project here is spot on. Whats more interactive and post modern then spreading your museum outside of the museum space. One piece of art could make this strip more ped friendly than 95% of denver.

  34. Anonymous May 1, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Denver has plenty of parking, what it doesn't have is plenty of cheap and destination close parking. And yes, I realize that to us urban enthusiats, these thing are to be scoffed at. But I think that to some degree, all these new office and residential developments feel they need to add a parking component so visitors, residents and workers of the buildings have some relatively easy & cheap parking. And by cheap I mean cheaper than paying $15/hr. or $175/mo. for the surface lot 2 blocks away. Not to mention that the city requires these crazy ratios. I don't really have a problem with it, as long as there is some ground level retail and a mixed use component. As far as aesthetics, I personally don't think it looks much worse than the boring black cube across the street (sorry Adjaye).

  35. joeindt May 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    "The roads are laid out already, and once the buildings are in place – assuming it's not 15 parking garages, which is not in the plans I have seen – it will be a great urban enclave with very little through traffic because of the railroad tracks. Maybe it's better in imagination, but I still think the CPV will be a great spot in due time.

    Since this was in response to mine… Not exactly true. There is still more work to be done. When they plug into downtown via 18th, new traffic will flow into CPV. The nature of wewetta changes (I think it gets widend, not sure) with the station to be a major entry point for the station. These roads aren't being built or modified for bus traffic, but instead for car traffic. The surrounding area will suffer as auto drivers look for shortcuts, out of cpv. More road space, more parking, and more traffic doesn't usually add up to better urban design. The result is, they (private or public) only inducing traffic to this area. It's a shame and a waste.

  36. ufos aliens May 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm

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