MAD's Denver 'Canyon' Revealed

John Hill
10. November 2021
Visualization: MAD Architects

One River North, the third project in the United States and the first in the country east of the Rockies for Ma Yansong's MAD Architects, features a landscaped "canyon" traversing ten of its sixteen floors.

Visualization: MAD Architects

Now under construction at 40th and Blake Streets along the eastern edge of Denver's River North District (RiNo), One River North is a 16-story building that will house 187 rental apartments and ground-floor retail space when it is completed toward the end of 2023. The main design gesture, as clearly evidenced by the renderings released by the team of developers behind the project, is the 10-story "canyon" that is meant to "[blur] the lines between the built and natural environments" and "echo the experience of climbing mountainous terrain" in Colorado. Yet only four of the canyon's ten floors will serve as a "trail-like walkway" for residents of the building, with the rest apparently serving as private terraces. The 216-foot-tall building will also have a rooftop with pool, spa, deck, and garden.

Visualization: MAD Architects

Bisecting RiNo, a popular arts district "known for blending urban charm and unique industrial revival," per the developers, are railroad tracks that are visible in the rendering at top. A pedestrian bridge traversing the tracks is located one block from the development site, at the 38th and Blake light rail station. In addition to the striking design by MAD Architects, the rendering at top also shows the "new wave of taller buildings" the developers say is shaping this part of Denver. 

Visualization: MAD Architects

The other US projects for MAD are Gardenhouse, a residential project on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles that was completed last year, and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which broke ground in LA's Exposition Park in 2018. The high-profile museum for George Lucas was originally planned for Chicago but moved west following lawsuits attempting to block construction of the project on the city's lakefront. MAD's only other project in North America, the Absolute Towers, was completed in 2012 in suburban Toronto.

Visualization: MAD Architects

One River North is being developed by The Max Collaborative, Uplands Real Estate Partners, and Wynne Yasmer Real Estate. Denver's Davis Partnership Architects is collaborating with MAD Architects and serving as the executive architect, while Saunders Construction is the general contractor for the project.

Visualization: MAD Architects

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