In the second half of the 20th century, the celebrated architect I.M. Pei built three projects in Colorado. His 1961 Mesa Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) remains one of his most important works, still standing intact and unmarred on a hill south of Boulder.
Another of Pei’s Denver projects, the Mile High Center, also failed to withstand later development. The 23-story building, which took cues from Mies van der Rohe’s focus on clean, rectilinear lines, featured a carefully designed outdoor plaza that set the building back from the street with open space.
“That building, in its initial form, was 1950s in perfection,” says Amir Ameri, a professor of architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. “It certainly looks back to the work of Mies van der Rohe. Nevertheless, it had its own distinct character."
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