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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 9, 2006

Architecture also a work of art at Denver museum

Associated Press

DENVER The geometric jumble of glass and titanium at Denver Art Museum's new Daniel Libeskind-designed wing may leave you breathless.

As intended. Denver Art Museum director Lewis Sharp says works of art should be housed in a work of art.

Adding to the flair is the neighboring Denver Public Library, designed by Michael Graves, and the castle-like existing museum that was the only building completed in the United States by the late Gio Ponti.

"It is a very unusual thing where you have a contemporary campus of buildings, where you have Michael Graves, you have the Ponti building to connect them and create more than just isolated buildings around a public space in ways that frame that every footstep," Libeskind said during a tour of the new $90.5 million wing, which opens Oct. 7.

Some observers were put off by Ponti's building when it opened in 1971 with its 28 sides and two towers, covered by more than 1 million gray tiles. Ponti, who died in 1979, remarked, "May Denver continue to dream about new buildings and its buildings will come true."

Libeskind's 146,000-square-foot work is connected to the Ponti building by a skyway. Inside, most paintings will hang conventionally on flat walls. But a few will also be hung from the ceiling next to the slanted exterior walls.

The building gives the museum space to display more of its collection, and has three galleries for traveling exhibitions.

Libeskind also designed 56 condominiums, attached to the parking lot, that sell from $330,000 to $1.1 million. All but a dozen have been sold.

"This shows how sustainability works that people can move back from suburbs and rediscover a new focus of art in the middle of the city," he said.

Libeskind is known for buildings with abrupt angles that appear to hang in space. He is best known for the master plan for rebuilding Ground Zero, the 16-acre World Trade Center site in New York that was destroyed by the Sept. 11 attacks.