A rendering of the new Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, set to open near 12th and Bannock Streets in 2017.

(Courtesy Olson Kundig)

Denver’s Kirkland Museum still has more work to do before it looks like the above design rendering. But the image gives you a good idea of what the 14-year-old institution’s new home will look like when it’s completed later this year.

The “jewel box” -- as dubbed by Seattle architect Olson Kundig -- will hold six of the museum’s 13 galleries. They’ll be clad in various shades of yellow bars and glass tiles. It’s a signature part of the design, says Kirkland Museum communications manager Maya Wright.

“Vance Kirkland is known for really bold explosions of color,” Wright says. “So I think it’s great if our building can represent that to the public.”

The still under construction Kirkland Museum. Part of the design of the building will include decorative yellow tiles.

courtesy Kirkland Museum

It also seems a fitting facade for the newest addition to Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood.

Recently certified by the state as one of the newest creative districts, the Golden Triangle is already home to museums, galleries and cultural centers.

Kirkland Museum officials say this location will bring more exposure to its three distinct collections of Colorado art, international decorative pieces, and works by its namesake. The museum hopes to start moving its collections into the space once it obtains a certificate of occupancy, Wright says.

The architecture mixes in a dash of old with the new, after crews moved Vance Kirkland’s former brick studio more than 10 blocks. The studio will be attached at the northern end of the museum, just as it sat at the former site on Pearl Street.


Vance Kirkland's studio used to be on the corner of Pearl Street and 13th Avenue. In November, crew loaded the studio up and drove it several blocks to the museum's new home on Bannock Street.

courtesy Kirkland Museum/GIF by Corey Jones, CPR News


“It’s a place where Vance Kirkland spent a lot of time, and he was so influential in the Colorado arts scene that we’re really lucky to have that as part of our story,” Wright says.

Transformation helped define Kirkland’s career, as he explored five different periods of art. Now 2017 will mark the start of another chapter for the museum itself.

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