Just off downtown Loveland, Colorado is the ancient and intriguing Loveland Feed & Grain building. A many-year preservation and restoration effort has been taking place to find new uses for this magnificent building.
A bit north of Boulder is the lovely town of Loveland, Colorado. I have often driven through town heading to some local fishing rivers and have recently begun stopping off in town. The downtown area is a remarkable collection of small town commercial buildings, some renovated, some in bad shape, many empty. We all have some reliably American nostalgia for "small towns" and that knee-jerk romanticism often blinds us to the very really quality of design of these places. We tend to see the picture postcard version, with kids on bikes and the local ice cream shop. Rather than simply driving through and "admiring" but not engaging, I would encourage everyone to actually walk the streets and see and feel the simple design genius embedded in this places.
These commercial buildings are significantly more complex than they seem at first. The usual relationship of store front, with its lower panel, shop windows and transom windows are surmounted by heavy masonry with punched openings. But these openings lend an architectonic quality to the building with clearly delineated sills and lintels. The building is usually topped off with some kind of cornice, completing the building against the sky. Those simple relationships are so much richer and simultaneously simpler than so many modern commercial buildings or worse yet, the bad pastiche contemporary buildings that try to replicate this pattern without careful study.
Loveland is also home to the Feed & Grain building, which I wrote about in a previous post.
Just off downtown Loveland, Colorado is the ancient and intriguing Loveland Feed & Grain building. A many-year preservation and restoration effort has been taking place to find new uses for this magnificent building, expertly documented and researched in Christopher Th0rp's report and headed up by a non-profit and Novo Restoration.
I believe that we should all take extra efforts to try to find ways to save these agricultural buildings from the nineteenth century. Loveland's thriving arts community has taken a kind of stewardship of this building and there are plans afoot to transform it into an arts complex with adjacent live/work artist's housing next door.
I have written quite a bit about trying to find a Colorado vernacular and folding this in to the making of a kind of critical regionalism for the Front Range. I can think of no better example of a building to start with and a potential to fulfill. A semi-public Request for Qualifications went out for the making of the live/work residences and we passionately submitted our team and hope to be involved. Stay tuned.
(all photos by Mark Gerwing)
image of the design of a custom house outside of Loveland, Colorado for a retired couple, interior design and architecture by M. Gerwing Architects
photograph of a site model of a custom house design outside of Loveland, Colorado by M. Gerwing Architects