The Buildings

Lanny & Sharon Martin Building

In 1971, the museum opened what is now known as the Martin Building (formerly the North Building), designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates. The eight-story, 210,000-square-foot building allowed the museum to display its collections under one roof for the first time. This architectural icon remains the only completed project in the United States by this important Italian master of modern design.

The Martin Building was an innovative move away from traditional, temple-style museum architecture. More than a million reflective glass tiles and 28 vertical surfaces of varying planes on the building's exterior complement the dramatic windows and pierced roofline of the building's castle-like facade. "Art is a treasure, and these thin but jealous walls defend it," said Gio Ponti of the building design.

After a four-year extended construction and renovation project, the Martin Building and its new Anna & John J. Sie Welcome Center opened to the public on October 24, 2021. The completed project welcomes visitors of all ages to expanded and renovated gallery spaces and brings the museum’s world-renowned arts education programming to the center of the campus with the Bartlit Learning and Engagement Center.

We are proud that the Martin Building is a LEED® silver-certified building.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments where people live, work, learn, play and worship. In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions, but LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.

LEED Certification FAQ

What is LEED Silver Certification?

LEED is a widely-used green building rating system established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). To achieve LEED certification, a building project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. There are four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

What features make the Martin Building eligible for LEED certification?

LEED certification requires achieving credits in a number of categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority Credits. The Martin Building was able to achieve enough combined credits in these categories to qualify for LEED Silver status. Prerequisite (minimum standards) credits include:

  • Pollution prevention during construction
  • 20% reduction in building water usage
  • Fundamental commissioning of the building energy systems
  • Minimum energy performance as compared to a theoretical building energy model – DAM actually achieved 11 of a possible 19 points for energy efficiency improvements
  • Fundamental refrigerant management
  • Storage & collection of recyclables during construction
  • Minimum indoor air quality performance
  • Tobacco smoke control during construction

Was getting certified a challenging process? OR What was the most challenging part of the LEED certification process?

Achieving a high number of credits on a renovation project is difficult, but this project was particularly challenging due to the inability to include major renewable energy sources, the reliance on a legacy city steam system for heat. Another major challenge was the large sections of glass on the building, such as the new Sturm Grand Pavilion, which naturally increases the heat load especially in the summer.

How does the Martin Building’s LEED Certification help the environment?

Many of the changes made that supported LEED Certification also help to reduce the energy and water usage on an ongoing basis, decreasing the environmental footprint of the building from its previous state. The use of renewable materials and recycling protocols during demolition and construction also helped reduce the amount of material waste. Finally, the Museum implemented a “green” protocol for cleaning the building moving forward, aimed at reducing the use of chemicals and other non-biodegradable or recyclable materials in the future.

Frederic C. Hamilton Building

Continuing a legacy of bold architecture, the museum commissioned architect Daniel Libeskind to design an expansion that would accommodate growing collections and programs. The 146,000-square-foot Hamilton Building opened to the public October 7, 2006.

Linking to the Sie Welcome Center on the north side of the campus via the Reiman Bridge across 13th Avenue, the Hamilton Building's design recalls the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and geometric rock crystals found in the foothills near Denver. "I was inspired by the light and the geology of the Rockies, but most of all by the wide-open faces of the people of Denver," Libeskind said. The building is covered in 9,000 titanium panels that reflect the Colorado sunshine.

Bannock Administration Building

The 50,000-square-foot structure is located immediately west of the museum's Hamilton Building and directly south of the Clyfford Still Museum. The building opened in April 2014, bringing more than 100 museum employees to the museum campus, including administrative staff, curators, and educators that formerly were in office space five blocks away at 14th Street and Tremont. The privately funded project also contains the Frederick R. Mayer Library and 9,000 square feet of collection storage.

Denver-based Roth Sheppard Architects and Saunders Construction, Inc., were selected to design and construct the building, which features glass and light-colored stone on the exterior to complement neighboring structures, and an open floor plan with various brainstorming zones that provide optimal working and meeting spaces to inspire creativity