Downtown Denver Renovation

 What happens when a new state-of-the-art concrete contractor gets teamed up with a renowned team consisting of The Beck Group and Gensler Design? A world-class office space gets transformed from a historic 1949 building in the heart of downtown Denver. The team worked together to find the beauty in the old building while maintaining the history and stories the structure had to tell. The Beck Group and Gensler hired The Art of Concrete, a new decorative concrete contractor in Denver, to find the beauty within the 69-year-old concrete floors.

 
Polished Concrete Downtown Denver (2).jpg

Challenges

The floor was very old and very soft. Because it had been around for a while, the building had served many purposes in the past – and that story is told through the concrete in the floor. The floors had several different batches of concrete, there were many trenches and patches, and even the patches had patches. Most of the original concrete was very soft and not of the best quality, and soft concrete hardly ever polishes well. However, because the team at The Art of Concrete knows concrete, they were able to give it the finesse it needed to bring it up to a full polish. Every patch, trench, and multiple loads of concrete turned into a high quality polished concrete floor.

Polished Concrete Downtown Denver (1).jpg

Sustainability

From an environmental standpoint, polished concrete is one of the most environmentally friendly floor finishes available. Because the design utilized the existing slab, the project’s carbon footprint was minimized. New material or finishes were not introduced to the project to go over the existing concrete foundation, the team polished the surface that was already there. The densifiers used to polish concrete are also zero VOC.

Polished Concrete Downtown Denver (11).jpg

REsults

Not only did the team exemplify great teamwork by open and honest communication, they remain in communication dreaming up how to polish future projects. The client, designer, and general contractor were all pleased with the final finish produced by The Art of Concrete. The final polished concrete floor embraces the history of the historic building, provides a beautiful and low maintenance floor, and the rustic decorative concrete finish ties together the entire interior design of the space.

Westminster Plaza

Westminster Plaza was one of the first projects The Art of Concrete had the opportunity to work on thanks to the team at Westminster and ECI. Kathy Piper, the lead Landscape Architect for the City came to Karen Keyes of The Art of Concrete asking her to look at the project. ECI approached her as well, saying the walls and the plaza were out of budget – do you have any ideas? That is when the collaboration between Westminster, ECI, Wenk and The Art of Concrete began on this project. Wenk designed the beautiful plaza. The design called for gorgeous granite blocks spilling water over a concrete plaza with white concrete seatwalls embracing the perimeter.

 
Westminster plaza

Innovation

White cement is an expensive mix of concrete, so The Art of Concrete took a hard look at the possibilities of how to maintain the design intent but save the project some money. After sorting through several options including toppings and color hardeners, they presented a sample of Aggretex to the team. This option provided the white concrete aesthetic, provided an architectural finish, a durable solution, and saved the project money. Aggretex is applied wet-on-wet, which means it is applied on top of wet concrete. The majority of the wall is constructed with uncolored gray concrete, however, the top 3/8″ is finished with the specialty white concrete – providing a cost savings by not having white concrete throughout the entire structure. This approach got The Art of Concrete’s foot in the door and ECI awarded them the concrete seatwalls and the concrete plaza paving.

_DSC0101.jpg

creativity

As the project progressed, so did the design. The plaza paving was originally going to have pieces of granite inset into the slab to provide an accent and subtle textural difference. The design team wanted this for the water feature that would be spilling over the plaza. A little texture difference added interest to the flow of the water. However, budget once again ruled, and we had to work together on different solutions out of concrete. We looked at different finishes, toppings, seeding granite, and many other ideas. But, after a meeting of the team, they decided on creating panels of varying sawcuts and stain to create the textural and visual dynamic they were looking for.

_DSC0146.jpg

Results

The end result is a plaza that will engage the community and bring this heart of Westminster to life. The surrounding developments are exciting and will only bring more life to Downtown Westminster. Thank you to the great visionaries at the City of Westminster and Wenk, and thank you ECI for bringing The Art of Concrete on board. And special thanks to the crew at The Art of Concrete who persevered through the many challenges that always come with decorative concrete.