DU Discipline Notes: The Tales Behind DU’s Buildings


The College of Denver’s red-brick walkways weave collectively an intriguing story, with every offshoot providing a small chapter in DU’s 156-year lifetime. Every constructing on campus has a narrative inform — concerning the progress of town, the enlargement of the college and the evolution of the school expertise.

With the assistance of “Constructed for Studying,” a 2008 ebook showcasing DU’s architectural character, the Newsroom takes a tour of among the campus’ most distinctive — and most fascinating — constructions.

College Corridor

When employees broke floor on College Corridor, they laid the cornerstone for the DU we all know at this time. Earlier than 1890, DU’s headquarters sat in downtown Denver, on the intersection of 14th and Arapahoe. College Corridor, product of lava stone from close by Fort Rock, served because the flagship constructing on what was then referred to as the College Park campus. DU actually made probably the most of its new, four-story area, which at first housed: the chancellor’s workplace, two reception rooms, a chapel, two recital rooms, the library, Evans Literary Membership, Phi Alpha Society, the college newspaper, enterprise workplaces, a chemistry lab, the ladies’ gymnasium and area for a future museum.

Mary Reed Constructing

Mary Reed

To not be confused with the constructing throughout campus that honors her daughter, the collegiate gothic Mary Reed Constructing memorializes considered one of DU’s most outstanding early philanthropists. Mary Reed initially changed the Carnegie Library in 1933, boasting elevated capability and able to shelving 400,000 volumes. It’s particularly designed in an H sample, permitting pure gentle to shine in from the north, south and west. When Reed died in 1945, she willed most of her library to DU and stipulated that her 1923 portrait cling inside. (You may nonetheless view it above the fireside within the second-floor Renaissance Room.) Quite a lot of folks contend that her spirit stays contained in the constructing, haunting the halls and spooking workers and college students alike.


The Ritchie Heart for Sports activities & Wellness

Williams Tower

Inside Williams Tower

The enduring gold tower, lengthy related to DU, wasn’t a part of the plan when architects drew up blueprints for the Ritchie Heart. The concept was a comparatively late addition from namesake and then-Chancellor Dan Ritchie, who needed a tower that may very well be illuminated when the Pioneers gained a hockey sport, broadcasting the excellent news to all the metropolis. At 192 toes tall, the gold-topped Carl M. Williams bell tower contains a slim spiral staircase resulting in a 65-bell carillon that performs free live shows all year long and hosts open homes the place guests can marvel on the large bells and the breathtaking view. When you dare look down in your ascent, you will notice 4 wall murals, charting the historical past of communication, from spoken phrase to digital tech.

Chamberlin Observatory

The 20-foot tall telescope in Chamberlin Observatory is so outdated, it predates electrical energy. However again in 1894, it was state-of-the-art. Weighing in at 11 tons of forged iron, the constructing is the centerpiece of close by Observatory Park. DU’s Division of Physics and Astronomy manages and cares for the 130-year-old observatory, which contains a rotating dome that may open towards any a part of the sky. DU’s first astronomy professor, Herbert Howe, modeled Chamberlin after the Carleton School Goodsell Observatory in Northfield, Minnesota.

Evans Chapel

Even with its 400 tons of stone and stained glass, the Evans Chapel, tucked right into a pocket in the course of campus, is straightforward to overlook.  The chapel initially was inbuilt 1878 as a second website for the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. DU founder John Evans funded it to honor his daughter, Josephine, who had died a decade earlier. When DU bought the property in 1958, directors thought-about demolishing it to create a car parking zone. As an alternative, they made the choice to dismantle the constructing by hand, stone by stone, and quantity the items for reassembly. Right this moment, the nondenominational chapel hosts weddings, meditation, private prayer, baptisms and extra.

Chambers Heart

Chambers Center carving

Few buildings embody their goal in addition to the Merle Catherine Chambers Heart for the Development of Ladies, which homes the Colorado Ladies’s School. The Chambers Heart, which opened in 2004, was designed, funded and constructed by ladies. Inspiration for the constructing’s signature motif got here from a ceramic dish belonging to Mike Bloom, the dean of the ladies’s school, that includes a nautilus shell, representing a lifetime of progress. Right this moment, you’ll be able to see the nautilus design within the constructing’s entrance window, the frequent room furnishings, the winding staircase and on copper plates outdoors workplaces. Architect Jane Loefgren additionally seemed to the Church of San Spirito in Florence, Italy, for concepts, which is why the school rooms on the primary and second ground are within the form of a cross.

Dimond Household Residential Village

Dimond inside

One of many College’s latest buildings, the Dimond Household Residential Village opened its doorways this fall, welcoming first-year college students to a completely new collegiate residing expertise. A product of the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan, Dimond is all about group. Greater than 500 college students can fill greater than 250 rooms, that are divided into “homes” to assist six cohorts of scholars. Dimond can be notable for its sustainability — the constructing is on monitor for LEED Gold certification, because of its rooftop photo voltaic panels.  What’s extra, the constructing was dropped at life by a variety of minority-, women- and veteran-owned companies, in addition to small companies, which, collectively, made up 35% of all enterprise participation within the building course of.


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