The expanded and reimagined Denver Art Museum reopened this month. It is part of an overall campus reunification and building renovation project designed by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects, and includes the restored Lanny and Sharon Martin Building (Martin Building), originally designed by Gio Ponti-designed, and a new Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center, which features an elliptical glass event and program space.

The Denver Art Museum’s new Welcome Center features an elliptical facade constructed with 52 glass panels. Photo by James Florio Photography, courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

The 50,000-square-foot Sie Welcome Center’s second story façade features a series of 25-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide curved, structural glass panels with insulated glazing. The high-performance structural glass, made up of three layers of 3/8-inch thick glass, was specifically fabricated for the museum’s new welcome center. The elliptical façade features 52 glass panels, and is the first structural glass wall façade of this size and scale in North America to hold itself up without the need for intermediate framing, according to the museum. The glass was fabricated by Tianjin Northglass; Sentech Architectural Systems was responsible for the façade design and engineering, and Harmon was the façade subcontractor.

“The Martin Building is a treasured work in the Denver Art Museum’s collection, and the chance to celebrate Gio Ponti’s legacy and realize elements of his design through its renovation and restoration was a thrill for our team,” said Jorge Silvetti, principal at Machado Silvetti. “To create the new Sie Welcome Center in the architecturally rich context of Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District, it was critical for us to design a structure that was simultaneously in dialogue with the vibrant visual language of Ponti and Studio Libeskind’s designs, while also providing connection to the museum. With its elliptical shape that is approachable from all angles, and transparent glass façade, the Sie Welcome Center is an inviting and glowing beacon to greet all visitors.”