Mile High Tower

I. M. Pei
1956; additions in 1980-83 by Philip Johnson

A 14 story high rise

One of Denver's first post-war skyscrapers, this International Style building originally had a large plaza with a waterfall and pool. When Johnson added the atrium, the entire plaza was lost, much to the consternation of critics. The officce tower, "a pearl of the International Style" has survived but much was "vandalized' or "marred by the attachment of a vaulted glass lean-to, stacked half-way up two sides" "compromising the integrity of the original, free standing tower" (Pierson 157).

Curtain wall construction

Paglia comments: “Carefully articulated spandrels, mullions, and muntins weave into a plaid-like pattern on each elevation. The horizontalitiy of the Miesian style is overlaid with the verticality of the exprssed structure” (39). Johnson’s One United Bank Center (then Norwest Tower; now Wells Fargo Center) is behind this building and seen just to the right is Columbia Plaza (now Amoco Tower) by Kohn Pedersen Fox. See below.

Works Cited:
Michael Paglia, Rodd L. Wheaton, and Diane Wray. Denver: the Modern City. (Historic Denver Guide.) Denver: Historic Denver, 1999
Francis J. Pierson. Getting to Know Denver: five fabulous walking tours. Denver: Charlotte Square Press, 2006.

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© 2009 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.