One River North is one cool building

I have long been attracted to unusual architecture and am the first to ooh and ahh when I see it. To date, most such structures have appeared in other countries, but now, it seems Denver is getting one. Meet One River North, a building with a giant crack in it. Is this wild, or what?

Currently under construction and slated for completion in late 2023, the 16-story One River North will have 193 apartment units and three floors of underground parking. The ground floor will be retail space.

I love our “cash register” (Wells Fargo) building but One River North looks like it was inspired by and belongs in and to Colorado. And it is truly unique, unlike any other building in the world. The building was designed (appropriately) by MAD Architects, a Chinese firm. They describe the crack as a “landscaped rift.”

From The Denver Post:

One River North, located at 3930 Blake St., will have a gash across its facade revealing a constructed vision of nature. It will contain 13,352 square feet of open-air environments, including a trail-like walkway, a flowing creek and lots of green plants. The accessible horizontal portion stretches across the sixth to ninth floors. A non-accessible vertical slot canyon will shoot up from the ninth floor to the roof in the middle of the 16-story building.

With a rail yard to the west and an interstate highway beyond that, it’s unlikely that mountain views will ever be blocked. And that, of course, means that rents will be ridiculous. The city desperately needs more affordable housing and this most certainly is not that.

Furthermore, the “landscaped rift” raises a lot of questions, not the least of which is how well the trees and other greenery be maintained. (Or if they’ll survive at all.) And at what cost?

Still, I sincerely hope One River North is completed and becomes wildly successful. It is bold, intriguing, and uniquely Colorado.

7 thoughts on “One River North is one cool building

  1. Wow! That’s an amazing design. Almost comical the way the building is chopped into sections in such a cartoonish way. Very cool though, thanks for posting this!

    When I was a kid in New Haven CT, they were building this headquarters for the Knights of Columbus. As a 10 year old, I had no idea what the organization was about, but i was fascinated to watch this unusual looking building in the downtown my friends and i haunted. I guess it’s kind of archaic now, and in need of repair.

    1. Oh, that’s a very handsome building. It looks very … strong and proud, and there’s something vaguely familiar about it. The craziest building I knew of as a child was a gold geodesic dome (Citizens State Bank) that replaced my old grade school.

      I was looking again at One River North and began wondering if some ambitious climber (we have a lot of them in Colo) is going to try to climb up or down that vertical cleft. And at the top, on the roof, it looks like somebody might easily fall in. I’ll believe this is a finished structure when I see it!

    1. I’ve loved seeing rooftop gardens and “green” roofs popping up everywhere, but this certainly takes the concept to a whole new level. I just hope the finished product will be as grand as the concept.

  2. I wish I had Simulacra and Simulation next to me (I’m working 3 hours from home).

    There was some piece of postmodern architecture discussed in it and I looked it up online because I had no idea what Baudrillard was talking about.

    This building reminds me of that structure he was discussing.

... and that's my two cents