The Denver Art Museum has announced that Colorado philanthropists Anna and John J. Sie have pledged $12 million to support the institution’s North Building revitalization project, which aims to unify the museum’s campus.
The donation will be used to build the Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center, an elliptical two-story facility with a transparent exterior that was conceived by Denver-based Fentress Architects and Boston architect Machado Silvetti. The design for the center draws from Gio Ponti and James Sudler Associates’s 1970s North Building, which was celebrated as the first high-rise art museum ever constructed in North America. The seven-story building currently houses the museum’s permanent collection.
The new fifty-thousand-square feet welcome center will boast of visitor-centric amenities including a restaurant, café, and ticketing area, as well as flexible program spaces, art storage, and the primary conservation lab. The institution plans to begin construction on the project by the end of 2017.
“Anna and I are grateful to have been part of the pioneering cable industry in this country. Having lived the American dream, we are now fortunate to be able to give back to our great state of Colorado and the city of Denver,” John Sie said. “For us, the welcome center sends an important message of belonging to all visitors, while also uniting the campus and giving the North Building the entrance it deserves—providing a launch pad for visitors to have a great museum experience.”
In December 2016, board chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife, Sharon Martin, gifted $25 million to renovate the North Building. The museum will recognize the Martin family’s donation, the largest in the museum’s history, by renaming the facility in their honor.