A New Home for Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Kirkland Museum’s 38,500-square-foot building at 1201 Bannock, designed by Jim Olson of Seattle-based Olson Kundig, opened to the public on March 10, 2018. We are situated within a block of the Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District.
About the Building
- Our building includes many signatures of Jim Olson’s architecture including the “eyebrow” overhangs, vertical glass “fins”, tall doorframes and a long Promenade Gallery down the center of the interior, where you can see the wall of Kirkland’s studio & art school building from the Welcome Desk.
- There are 18 display areas, with about 4,400 works on view.
- The yellow terra cotta bars on the façade are made by NBK Ceramic based in Emmerich, Germany.
- The glass bars that are interspersed with the terra cotta were made by John Lewis Glass Inc.
- The glass “fins” near the entrance were by Kerry Johnson’s studio (formerly Peter David’s studio) in Seattle, Washington.
- The Museum is very energy efficient, with geothermal wells for heating and cooling beneath the parking lot.
- Announcement of future relocation; architect chosen: January 27, 2014
- Groundbreaking: September 10, 2015
- Pearl Street location began temporary closure: May 2, 2016
- Studio moved to Bannock: November 6, 2016
- Commenced moving in: September 23, 2017
- Grand Opening at 1201 Bannock: March 10, 2018
In 2013, ten years after Kirkland Museum opened to the public on Pearl Street, it became clear that in order to best promote international decorative art, Colorado and regional art and Vance Kirkland, a larger building would be necessary. In January 2014, Kirkland Museum announced plans to move the museum to a new building at 12th Avenue and Bannock Streets in Denver’s Golden Triangle. Funding for the construction of the new Kirkland Museum building was provided by Merle Chambers Fund. The foundation’s financial support for a new home for the Museum is an investment in the further development of the vibrant Golden Triangle Creative District and Denver’s nationally important art scene.
On March 10, 2018 Kirkland Museum opened its doors to a new building, featuring Vance Kirkland’s 1910–1911 studio & art school building, moved to Bannock Street. The new facility in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District features the addition of new and expanded visitor amenities and provide a world-class display space to exhibit the collection in the salon style for which Kirkland Museum is known.
Jim Olson's Vision
"Designing a new museum in Denver’s Golden Triangle near the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum is a great honor and a serious responsibility. My goal was to make an artistic statement that is uniquely appropriate to Kirkland Museum and inspired by its amazing collection.
The collection of fine and decorative art is a rich and varied mix of art and craft. Materials in the collection are often colorful and textured. Paintings, especially those by Vance Kirkland, have a lot of vitality, using colors like yellow and red.
While the layout and elevations of the building are calm and simple, the materials cladding the exterior are full of energy. The main element of the building will be a large yellow box clad with vibrant terra cotta bars of varying shades of yellow. These bars will be punctuated by glass backed in gold. The façade will sparkle in the Colorado sunshine like a Kirkland painting. At the entry, hand-crafted reddish glass fins will further enliven the façade. My hope is that the building itself will be considered a “piece” in the collection.
The Museum will be enjoyed from the exterior; I like to think of the sidewalks and streets as galleries. Passers-by can enjoy the historic Kirkland studio, the artistry of the yellow terra cotta and the sparkling glass. They will even be able to view objects from the collection in glass vitrines mounted onto the exterior of the building, as well as sculptures on and around the building. Even the gardens along the sidewalk and around the building will be an artistic statement that plays off of the patterns, colors and textures of the building facades.
Inside the Museum the layout will be simple. It is intended to help organize and frame exhibits, vignettes and objects. A long, elegant hallway ties all the Museum’s main spaces together. This makes wayfinding much easier so movement through the museum will be effortless. The scale of the building will be somewhat residential. This scale is appropriate to the art and objects within; most were intended for residential settings.
After leaving the Museum, I want people to feel that they have just visited a grand and charming modern home filled with treasures of art and design."
Vance Kirkland Studio Move
On Sunday, November 6, 2016 in partnership with Mammoth Moving & Rigging Inc. and Shaw Construction, Vance Kirkland’s three-room studio & art school building made its highly anticipated move through the neighborhood via eight sets of remote-controlled articulating wheels to its new home eight blocks west at 12th & Bannock in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District.
Kirkland’s studio building (built 1910-1911 for Henry Read’s Students’ School of Art) is the heart of the Kirkland Museum experience. Kirkland (1904-1981) was among the most important Colorado and regional painters of the 20th century and painted in the studio for most of his 55-year career. Merle Chambers provided the inspiration to move the Kirkland studio building to the new site, oriented in the same direction as in its former location at 13th and Pearl. To learn about the studio’s history, click here. To honor the studio’s significance, Kirkland Museum has worked closely with the historic preservation community to ensure that the move and the condition of the studio building are maintained.
We extend a huge thank you to our partners Mammoth Moving & Rigging, Inc. and Shaw Construction for their meticulous care in moving the studio, as well as the numerous city agencies who assisted in making it possible and the support of our neighbors. We are expanding our universe and are excited to be surrounded by wonderful institutions that make Denver a world-class art destination.
For photo and video of the studio move, see our Facebook page and YouTube Channel.
Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District is the place to go for art and culture in Denver. Located steps from the gold-domed State Capitol, the neighborhood is home to the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, History Colorado Center, Byers-Evans House Museum, the ART, a hotel, Denver’s Central Public Library and numerous galleries. Kirkland Museum’s new location makes it more convenient for art lovers who can now park once to experience all the world-class artwork Denver offers in the Golden Triangle.