David Adjaye’s Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver Breaks Ground on New Building

The Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver (MCA) recently broke ground on a world-class facility, designed by an internationally renowned architect, to house its expanding programs that focus on creating understanding dialogue about art of the 21st century.

The new building was designed by acclaimed architect David Adjaye, whose recent work includes the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, and the Idea Stores in London. Adjaye, who attended the groundbreaking, said, “When I visit Colorado, I am always struck by the quality of the light and the incredible landscape and space here. I can’t imagine a more perfect place to build a contemporary art museum for the 21st century.”

Born in Tanzania, Africa, Adjaye studied at the Royal College of Art and is widely known as the “artist’s architect.” He has designed homes and studios for leading contemporary artists, including Chril Ofili, Tim Nobel and Sue Webster, Lorna Simpson, and James Casebere. He also has collaborated on installations with Ofili and artist Olafur Eliasson for the 2003 and 2005 (respectively) Venice Biennales.

Over the past five years, MCA’s director/curator Cydney Payton has led the young organization into a period of tremendous growth through a consistent program of critically acclaimed exhibits, and sound fiscal management. She has been instrumental in securing a gift of land in downtown Denver valued at $1 million and raising $9 million to date for the new facility. Payton said, “The new building delivers a place to connect with the work of living artists which will be enhanced by the directness and elegance of the architecture. It will be a beacon for patrons of contemporary art everywhere.”

When the museum opens in June 2007, the 27,000-square-foot facility will feature five galleries on two levels with two educational spaces – one in the lower level and one on the roof with a garden. Unlike many museums today, it will be constructed from funds raised solely from private donors and foundations. The cost is expected to be approximately $15 million. In addition to exhibits from local, regional, national and international artists, the MCA seeks public involvement through interdisciplinary programs and education.

An important goal of the new building is to attain the prestigious LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Different levels of LEED certification may be achieved, depending on the number of desired attributes incorporated into a structure’s design, construction and furnishings. A final rating will not be known until the building is finished and many qualities can be verified. Karl Kister, MCA board president, said, “The environmental challenges we face in the 21st century, especially climate change, mandate that public facilities set a new standard for sustainability.”

For more information, please visit www.mcadenver.org.