New York City firm LTL Architects won the hearts of community members and the Telluride Arts selection committee for its conceptual Telluride Transfer Warehouse design.
The designs of three architects were presented during a public open house Tuesday, according to a Telluride Arts news release. The LTL firm emerged the winner in a months-long design competition for the historic space.
All three finalists (Gluckman Tang, NADAAA and LTL) were in Telluride this week for the final stretch of the competition, which began in January. Each firm shared preliminary conceptual designs during the open house.
The priorities set forth for the competition by Telluride Arts included creating a flexible space within the warehouse for exhibitions and events, while allowing the historic stone to be exposed, and generating a flow between the inside and outside. The three designs were very diverse, but shared a similar approach in building a box within the walls to maximize the exposure of the historic stone on the inside, the news release explained.
Hundreds from the public, including Telluride Town Council members, attended the open house to view the drawings, models and computer animations. Those who attended were allowed to ask the architects questions before submitting their personal comments for consideration during the final decision process. The selection committee heard formal presentations by each firm, weighed the submitted public opinions and selected the winning team Tuesday evening.
“This is the most important building in Telluride of the modern era and the biggest asset to this community,” Telluride Realtor Rosie Cusack said in a previous interview with the Daily Planet.
“It’s the single, largest facility to provide space to gather and present artistic and community events. There is nothing else: The school is built, the library’s been built. This is it.”
It was clear both the public and committee members favored the LTL (Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis) design, according to the news release.
“Most of these firms have worked on much larger projects,” Telluride Arts Director Kate Jones said in a previous Planet interview. “But this one is so special, and in such a spectacular setting, that it attracted a lot of interest. It was something we were hoping for, but not counting on.”
In reference to the tree that has been growing inside the roofless ruin for almost 40 years, LTL’s concept included an open atrium at the east entry of the warehouse, exposing the large tree through a retractable roof section that opens to the mountain views and air. Such sensitivity to the recent history of the building, combined with a warm, welcoming, intuitive design that uses a sustainably harvested wood material, won the favor of the community.
The LTL design is both contemporary and warm, with a wooden arc-type structure inserted into the interior of the stone walls that provides appealing spaces throughout the building, including a roof top deck, an underground event space, galleries and an entry courtyard that opens into the building at the first-floor level.
Steven Gluckstern, a local proponent of the project and selection committee member, aptly described the structure as a “cultural arc for our community,” the news release said.
The LTL team — represented by the firm’s principal architects, twin brothers David and Paul Lewis, and partner Marc Tsumuraki — also included Nancy Hudson, a structural engineer with Silman, who spoke in depth about the coordination of the historic restoration of the existing structure with the construction of the new interior.
Silman is a structural engineering firm that specializes in historic stabilization, that kept Frank Lloyd Wrights “Falling Water from falling into the water,” according to the news release. LTL’s projects include the Center for Contemporary Art in Austin, Texas, which shares some similarities with the Transfer Warehouse.
Over the next few months, the LTL team will be visiting Telluride to hone their designs through charrettes with the community. Restoration of the historic walls is planned to begin this summer, with construction slated for 2018-19. The designs will be on display at the Telluride Arts main office at 135 W. Pacific St. throughout next week.
For more information and to view the designs online, visit telluridearts.org/warehouse.
Before its roof collapsed in 1979, due to too much snow, the building was a downtown garage and filling station. Farther back in time, in 1906, before the advent of the automobile, this cavernous, two-story space housed another form of horsepower. It was the barn for the local livery.
It was “the center of the Warehouse District that served the mining industry,” according to the story of the building’s history on Telluride Arts’ website. “It was a bustling hub where people and goods flowed from the trains, through the building, and out into the towns and the mines.”
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