DBGC Visitors Center



Littleton, Colorado

The Visitor’s Center for the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield represented a unique opportunity to design a facility that respects the historic environment of the Gardens yet is totally modern in its function. Sited next to an historic 1880’s schoolhouse, the design pays homage by allowing the school to be the primary focus of the site, with the Center having a simple porch encircling the structure giving views to the gardens and school. A variety of architectural elements are incorporated into the design, with varying roof slopes, two different architectural styles, details and colors borrowed from the historic ranch buildings, making the building feel as if it has always been there and added on to several times, typical of a ranch building of that era.

The interior is fully modern with many typical ‘era’ concepts, including a centralized brick fireplace dominating the public areas. Vaulted ceilings and contemporary lighting allow for museum displays, meetings, and events, as well as a reception and sales area. Offices are behind the public spaces, allowing for better control and operations at the sprawling gardens. An outdoor gathering area, complete with a firepit, invites guests to just relax outdoors or hold a reception for an important function.