Colorado Academy Ponzio Arts Center

Shears Adkins Rockmore (SA+R) completed the redesign and expansion of Colorado Academy Ponzio Arts Center in Denver, Colorado.

The scope of this project for a new arts center for the 1,000-student Colorado Academy included renovation and modern additions to an existing building to create a center for art for the making and appreciation of children ranging from Pre-K to High School.

Colorado Academy’s Ponzio Arts Center was re-envisioned, expanded, and modernized from what was once a historic dorm building, adapting to the current and future needs of the students while still honoring the foundation and antiquity of the facility. The project’s cost was approximately $3,000,000.

The upper and lower studios are now visually connected with a tiered, radially landscaped elliptical plaza, creating a new outdoor studio space and strengthening the Art Center’s presence with a welcoming public interface. New windows and a flexible art gallery space connect students and their art pieces inside the building to the surrounding campus showcasing work to their peers with open views from the quad to the south and west. Additions allow studios to harvest daylight from the north, creating fun environments for learning and growing in and around the center in a bright and open space. Topography is leveraged to create indoor-outdoor spaces on the north and south sides of the building. Lower studio clerestory windows provide borrowed light from the gallery above into classrooms. The addition of three new state-of-the-art studios are filled with natural, even north light from windows above, abundant storage space, concrete floors, and provide another creative space for students. A senior studio was added as a highlighted laboratory for which younger students can strive to be a part. The renovated existing building was also enhanced with support spaces to tie old and new together.

ArchitectShears Adkins Rockmore (SA+R)
ContractorFransen Pittman
Photography: Frank Ooms