Stories, True and Otherwise

Stories, True and Otherwise

SCULPTING HISTORY

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The building rests along a stretch of South Broadway in Englewood, an unassuming but iconic structure—part of the landscape’s fabric after so many decades but still as eye-catching as the day it first appeared. The raw dimensions tell a muted version of the story: two floors, 32 feet of total height, and 10,000 square feet of interior space. More immediately visible are the dramatic flourishes: its asymmetrical ovoid shape punctuated by three distinct openings in the upper body, including a two-story niche that houses the main entrance.

To the uninitiated passerby, the whole thing looks a little like a spaceship. But much like the man who designed it, the Key Savings and Loan Association building is immeasurably more than the sum of its eclectic parts. 

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A ROUND OF APPLAUSE

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One of the newest arrivals on the Denver micro housing scene is also, paradoxically, among the oldest. Even if the Turntable Studios name doesn’t yet ring a bell, the building it occupies can’t help but be familiar. Built as a prototype hotel in the late 1960s and standing strong in the shadow of two Mile High Stadiums in the decades since, the circular 13-story landmark has for years been a comforting sight along the I-25 corridor.

But in contrast to its historical significance, the building actually represents a refreshingly progressive view of modern living. And it easily could have gone another direction entirely.

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SURROUND ARCHITECTURE

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The Black Bear House sits on a sloping site right at the base of Chautauqua. It’s a glorious structure, all clean lines and floating stairs and mountain views, but the house itself is also a retaining wall and a massive cantilever.

Getting it to rest precisely this way, in perfect balance with such a challenging environment, required no small feat of creativity—not to mention some heavy-duty civil engineering.

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BACK TO THE FUTURE

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Add Sushi Rama to the growing list of hip, high-concept Asian restaurants in the Mile High City. But with its throwback conveyor belt, pop art wall, and retro modern vibe, Sushi Rama has already distinguished itself from the pack. 

An interview with the design team behind the project.

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THE ART OF SUBTRACTION

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Home renovation: often necessary, frequently problematic. When it comes to houses with a distinguished design pedigree, knowing what to update versus what to preserve is, at the very least, a thorny issue.

How much of a home’s original structure should be maintained, and in what condition? When is it okay to scrape and start fresh? Are certain homes permanently off-limits? And if so, who decides?

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THE BIGGEST LITTLE CABINS

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They come from all over, young adventure seekers drawn to Colorado rural mountain terrain as if by gravity. Each June they load their vehicles with oversized Rubbermaids holding most of their worldly possessions and set out for a summer of non-stop teaching, learning, and leading.

They'll face untold hardships as they guide students and adults through rugged outdoor courses lasting anywhere from eight to 81 days, but the challenge is part of the appeal. For instructors at Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), the hardships only make it more worthwhile.

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DESIGNING WELLNESS

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Forget political gridlock and never-ending debates about policy reform. In the face of a national health crisis, a wave of integrated design innovations, from facilities to technologies to consumer products, is disrupting the system and giving consumers better control of their own well-being.

Cars drive themselves. Drones deliver groceries. We talk to our phones and our phones talk back. If you blinked, you might have missed it: The future arrived while we were busy doing other things.

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HIP TO BE SQUARE

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There were holes in the ceiling, but that wasn't nearly the worst of it. Cabinets were torn away, and much of the house was down to the studs. It needed all new electrical. New plumbing. New heater. New air conditioner.

The former owner pulled down walls and roof beams, which exposed -- to the horror of all involved -- a sagging joist spanning 25 feet or more, help up at either end by two-by-eight boards, which might plausibly have dated to the Eisenhower administration.

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MID MOD MAD MEN: A LOOK AT VINTAGE ADVERTISING

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Herman Miller makes furniture. In fact, the Michigan-based company has produced some of the most recognizable furniture in the world, dating back to the early 20th century. But the Herman Miller legacy extends well beyond the bounds of tables or lounge chairs. It’s also responsible for some truly groundbreaking advertising, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. 

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SHOW THEM WHAT YOU LOVE

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When Workplace Resources outgrew its longtime LoDo footprint, it opted for two new facilities with entirely distinct purposes. But just how easy is it to design the perfect office environment for a company with an endless reservoir of the world's best office furniture?

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ANY GIVEN MASTERPIECE

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Viewed from a distance, Lynn Heitler's entire life is about art. Her eye for the beauty of everyday things, her knack for pairing disparate items in interesting ways, her need to create and capture and reconfigure . . . these are the traits that suffuse her world in ways she did not expect. They are the very same traits that made her a successful entrepreneur and the proud owner of an impressive and eclectic art collection -- a collection she took care to consider and enhance when renovating her 1942 Hilltop home. Life imitates art? Or the other way around?

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ARCHITECTING AN APPETITE

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The intersection of form and function is a crowded stretch of road. We take it for granted that people who work in explicitly design-oriented fields, like architecture, travel this route every day. But there are vast swaths of our lives that rely on the precise execution of clever, pragmatic, beautiful design. Right now we’re thinking specifically about food.

Linda Hampsten Fox comes by her esteemed culinary pedigree honestly. She grew up in a family who loved and valued real food. She trained all over the world, including more than a decade spent apprenticing with chefs in France, Italy, and Switzerland. She was even a private chef to clients ranging from Jane Goodall to Dave Matthews.

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FILTHY BEAUTIFUL

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First things first: Find yourself a reputable biological supply company and place an order for one million maggots. Delivery will take a few days—it’s probably a good idea to spring for tracking and insurance on this one—and while you’re waiting, get to work building contraptions to house these maggots once they become flies.

You’ll need straight wood (poplar is good) and some tropical hardwood fiberboard called luan, used in everything from boats to dollhouses. The contraptions take about three days, start to finish. Then it’s time to make something uniquely, paradoxically beautiful.

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THE THEORY OF ELEVATION

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For most people, finding the right career takes years of trial and error. Bad jobs lead to better jobs. Paths converge until something clicks. Not for Angela Feddersen.

The woman behind Elevate Architecture found her calling early, cranking out her first floor plans at the tender age of 7. Even then, she had a passion for design and a curious need to create and connect. As a teenager, she was the only girl in her high school drafting class, and a few years later, she chased her dreams in the Architecture program at Iowa State University . . .

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SYSTEM UPGRADE

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Boulder is no stranger to tech firms taking up residence in reimagined industrial spaces. But Applied Broadband isn’t looking to emulate the latest Silicon Valley fads. Lucky for them, architect Rick Epstein and designer Marcel de Lange know just how to get where they’re going.

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CONTEMPORARY INTERVENTION

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The warehouse at the corner of Broadway and Walnut wasn't always glamorous. In fact, before Brad Fentress swooped in and transformed it into the new 24,000 square-foot showroom for his own Studio Como, this was a distinctly unhip industrial space defined only by the hundreds of boxes of legal files which lined the floors in every direction.

What a difference a year makes . . .

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AND PER SE AND

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The ampersand, that squiggly conjunctive logogram and erstwhile 27th letter of the alphabet, is really hitting its stride. Once a bastardized character of convenience, it now props up major corporate logos and restaurant names, even serving as a standalone design icon in its own right. Never mind that it dates back 2,000 years. The ampersand is so ubiquitous in the world of modern design that it’s often taken for granted, or dismissed entirely. But as any creative director or linguistic historian will tell you, to know the ampersand, to grapple with its origins and eccentricities, is to love it . . .

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