How did they build the Denver Art Museum? | Culture & Leisure

The Denver Art Museum is featured prominently in the first episode of the new season of the Smithsonian Channel’s television series “How Did They Build That?” that tells the origin stories of architectural marvels around the world.

Actor and host Jay Ellis (“Top Gun: Maverick”) calls Denver’s iconic museum radical and breathtaking. “It’s as if a spaceship had landed in the middle of Denver,” adds one of its expert commentators.

This wonderfully compelling retrospective traces how the city turned to rogue architect Daniel Libeskind in 2000 when the Denver Art Museum ran out of space.

Challenged by the “everything but a box” mantra and inspired by the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Libeskind set out to create a 146,000-square-foot building that defied gravity and zigzagged without a single right-angled corner or symmetrical wall.

You can watch this gripping geometry geek dream episode on smithsonianchannel.com.

New episodes air Sundays at 6 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel.

Other structures that will be featured in the 10-part second season include the Hearst Tower in New York, the Guggenheim in Spain, and the Evergreen Point 520 floating bridge in Seattle.

“Being able to hear first-hand accounts of the brilliant minds of these architects, and how they conceived and executed these remarkable designs is truly amazing and inspiring,” Ellis said.

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Visionary Swedish artist and obvious neat freak Claes Oldenburg, whose sculpture “Big Sweep” has greeted visitors to the Denver Art Museum every day since 2006, has died in New York at the age of 93.

Oldenburg and his ex-wife Coosje van Bruggen were known for their monumental sculptures that celebrate the simple meaning of everyday things. “Big Sweep” is a 40-foot-tall sculpture made of stainless steel, aluminum and fiber-reinforced plastic, and painted with a polyurethane enamel.

“He was inspired by the vast prairies and mountains of Colorado, the bright light and the searing winds,” the museum said in a statement. “The artists designed a graceful broom and dustpan that seemed to dance in the dazzling western sun.”

Mildred D. Field