Studio Gang will bring Populus, an aspen tree-inspired mixed-use complex, to Denver

Studio Gang has revealed its latest project, a 13-story, mixed-use tower slated to rise on a triangular lot in downtown Denver.

Once complete, Populus, the firm’s first project in Colorado, will bring 40 “micro” apartments, 250 hotel rooms, and event spaces to city’s Civic Center neighborhood and next to its central park.

Rather than pull from the typical examples of prow-like or Flatiron typologies for the project, Studio Gang heavily modeled the structure after Colorado’s aspen trees (pulling the name from its scientific classification, Populus tremuloides, not the stadium designers) and the project wears the influences on its sleeve. The facade, arranged in columns of white “tree trunks,” will be pocked with eye-shaped windows reminiscent of the distinctive black knots left behind when a branch is removed.

More than just an aesthetic choice, the bulging, curved window arches will double as passive sun shades and help water drain away from the windows and create natural channels for water to flow down the side of the building. Each type of window (double height and split in the mirror, singular, grouped, or extra-large) will correspond to a specific type of unit, with the largest reserved for retail at the ground floor. Inside the residential micro-units, those same windows will extrude inward and double as seating.

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