Steeped in a rich history of agriculture, mining, ranching and outdoor pursuits, Colorado has seen the rise and fall and rise of modern design over the last 50 years. “I have always felt that modern is a lot more suited to the Colorado lifestyle than traditional design,” says Month of Modern founding partner and architect Harvey M. Hine.
“Traditional architecture is more inward focused and cluttered. Modern design, by definition, incorporates large expanses of windows that are open to the sun and breeze. As people simplify their lives, modern architecture just makes sense.”
This legacy of modern design was founded in the 1940s when people began to flock to Front Range, lured by its unmatched beauty, mild climate and a desire to pursue a more simple way of life.
Boulder was at the epicenter of this architecture movement with a group of struggling architects who were commissioned to build homes for the forward-thinking university professors, artists and scientists who populated this area along the Front Range.
Today, the influence of these pioneers—Charles Haertling, Roger Eason, Hobart Wagener, Gale Abels, James Hunter—can be seen and felt throughout the city, with clean, evocative designs sitting side by side with Victorian homes, 1970s office buildings, and iconic modernist homes and buildings.
Coupled with current modern and contemporary architecture by some of Colorado’s most esteemed modern architects, it is evident that the region’s love of modern design shows no sign of slowing down.
“Colorado modern is a blend of precision and bespoke, inviting the wildness of our surroundings into a pared down aesthetic,” says David Barrett of Barrett Studio Architects, who has been practicing in Boulder for more than 30 years. “Our region’s ranching, mining and agricultural history can seep in and roughen up the edges of ‘pure’ modernism. We have described it as ‘beat to hell modernism.’”
This kind of rough texture, coupled with sustainability and a reverence for the connection of indoors and outdoors, is now driving the future of Colorado modern design.
Architect Renee del Gaudio, who opened her firm in 2007, believes that the emerging aesthetic is rooted in “a deep commitment to sustainability and an appreciation for the natural world. The result is a movement of thoughtful, environmentally responsible, modern design that deepens people’s connection to the natural world through architecture.”
“Architecture that awakens our senses, lifts our spirits, and reconnects us to our landscapes.”
This is the connection we hope to inspire with Month of Modern.
We aren’t looking for answers. Instead, we want to cultivate a conversation about how modern design enhances, informs and brings communities together and ultimately creates a better, more thoughtful and meaningful way of life.