Can you tell what it is?
I was speaking at a Society for College and University Planning event in Denver this spring, and walking back from my talk, a few blocks from my hotel, I stood on this corner and looked at this building and thought, What the hell is this monstrosity?
I didn’t understand the huge wall of beige on the side of the building. I didn’t understand why there was absolutely nothing that interacted with the street. I didn’t relate to the dark reflective surfaces on the structure’s outward face, reminiscent of something built for the Land of Mordor.
People thought me a bit batty, standing on the street corner, staring.
I was trying to guess the use. I came up with nothing…office maybe? Finally, I grew tired of my guessing game and walked closer to peruse the sign. It turns out this beauty of a buliding is a Four Seasons — hotel and residences.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. On their website, the Four Seasons states, “Taste is More than a Flavour.” Indeed. There is little that reflects the Four Seasons brand in this building. There is no opulence, no luxury, no taste, no elegance, no style, no presence. There is nothing to set the tone as you reach the corner of their property (pictured above left). It’s just a bad building, with bad site design dominated by parking access, and no discernable entry or street presence. (The main entry is pictured below right — lovely, isn’t it? So inviting.)
After I took these photos, I was sitting about a block away at a coffeeshop, outdoors on the sidewalk since it was a lovely spring day in Denver. You know the sort, where all the Denverites run around in shorts because it’s sunny, even though it’s still freaking cold outside. So I was sitting there sipping a chai latte and a woman came into view, sprinting up the sidewalk, past the Four Seasons, and stopped in front of us latte sipping sun worshipers. Out of breath, she began scanning the surroundings, swiveling her head to the left and right frantically, obviously late and searching for her destination.
“Where is the Four Seasons?” she finally relented, asking us cafe goers.
“You just ran past it,” we responded, pointing back in the direction she had come.
(Crossposted at Civilis Consultants)