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Borrowing from the Rocky Mountains

2010 // Downtown Denver, CO, US // public building - farmers' market // competition




If you can’t go to the Mountain, let the Mountain come to the city!


Based on this premise, the project presented here has selected one of the best pieces from the Rocky Mountains and transported it down to the high plains where Denver is located. What will happen to a modern skyline when an irregular, but perfectly recognizable, silhouette of a mountain is inserted? We think it will serendipitously inter-relate the various urban centers as well as the city and the vistas beyond. This concept of the future Farmers’ Market building aspires to provide the city of Denver with an emblematic figure which puts the grey of the city in touch with the green of outlying landscapes. Thus, the façade is a blooming green hill while the sensation inside the Market is that of relaxing under a leafy tree in the middle of a forest. The main area is totally flexible, resembling a campground before the tents are set up: a quiet empty space in the woods awaiting a potential variety of campsites depending on the needs of each event. The Farmers’ Market is a living building as well, effectively producing its own energy by day, taking in water from the skies for its own use and illuminating itself by night.


Clean Open Space under Green Shade  


Fixed Architecture  

The slope of the hill is calculated according to studies of climate conditions (wind, sun, rainfall, etc.) in the area. The building is very simple. It is an empty space enclosed by two natural walls made of wood partitions. The front and back accesses, however, are made of glass to allow passers-by to glance into the interior.  Moreover, the back wall is actually a double glass wall accomplishing two simultaneous purposes. First it filters light into the interior, thus harmonizing and softening the view to the southern alley and, secondly, the space created houses the enclosed area from which all the events in the main area of the Market are directed and supervised from above. The cover, like the leaves of a tree sheltering the ground beneath it, is a combination of a live green roof - composed of a variety of ground cover plants that change color with the seasons – and a technical roof consisting of small skylights, fiber optic LEDs that light up at night and minimal solar panels on the slopes facing south. The roof structure will also collect rainfall to be used to water plants in the Market as well as for plumbing in the bathroom and staff room. Technical flooring allows for all potential electrical and cable needs in the main hall. The basement functions as the roots of the building in that it feeds the main space with all sorts of opportunities to grow and transform. It is a well-organized space including the storage of furniture of various types and sizes which can be elevated to the main hall on the elevation platform at one end of the building.


Flexible architecture          

The interior space in the market offers countless organizational opportunities depending on the combinations of pieces of furniture stored in the basement: 

- Chairs: 220         Tables: 36         Counters: 16         Bins (with interior components): 22         Platforms: 4         Stands: 4         Stairs: 24         Ceiling Partitions: 12 

- 24 ft. Wall Units: 4          18 ft. Wall Units: 6          12 ft. Wall Units: 6          Hanging Flower Pots: 22          

- Electrical Equipment          Lighting Equipment          Gardening Equipment          Maintenance Equipment


The space can be shaped horizontally by means of walls, counters, bins and tables or, vertically, with platforms, retractable seating systems, etc. Volume can be adjusted or modified by adding ceiling partitions at the required heights. Personnel attending bins are able to see each other at all times in any of the organizational settings. In the basement there is a workshop where maintenance of furniture and installations is performed and new furnishings built as the need arises. Planted pots or other elements can hang from the metallic structure to accommodate various spatial concepts or to manipulate interior climate conditions. Water collection, storage and distribution devices from the roof are multi-directional to ensure conservation of water in cleaning, bathroom plumbing, roof irrigation, etc. The sides of the roof can be opened to regulate ventilation and temperature of the greenhouse-like interior.

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