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Denver home of renowned architect Alan Golin Gass gains landmark status


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    DENVER (KCNC) — A home representing post-World War II innovations in Denver housing has gained landmark status. Preservationists approached architect Alan Golin Gass hoping to secure the special status for the home he designed and has lived in since the early 1960s. On Monday, the Denver City Council approved the landmark designation on a 12-0 vote.

The home is on South Harrison Street in Denver’s Belcaro neighborhood.

Gass, a fourth generation Denverite, built a career in architecture by chance. After graduating from East High and attending Harvard, he intended to study chemistry. Until one day he ran into a professor named I. M. Pei.

“I walked into the architecture building one day, the graduate school of design. Here was this elderly man and a group of students criticizing the works on cathedrals in contemporary mode. I came out of there thinking architecture was a very interesting subject. Here it was a combination of things I was interested in. Made the switch into architectural science.”

Gass interned with Pei in 1954 during the construction of the Mile High Center in Denver. Pei and his work would become world renowned.

“Mile High Center is now the Wells Fargo complex at 17th and Broadway,” he observed.

Eventually Gass used his prowess in designing a dream home to convince his wife Sally to marry him.

He recalled, “One night I brought Sally to my house. I was staying at my parents at the time and showed her the plans of the house and used the plans as a roost to get her to marry me.”

A site in what today is the Belcaro neighborhood – considered undesirable when it was next to a dump – is where Gass built the home in 1961 with many unique features.

He described, “The house is about 2400 sq feet. It has two levels; it has a split entry design. The lower levels is not a basement, it is half out of the ground, sometimes called a garden level. It has full windows above the ground. It has 3 walkout sliding glass doors. Basically, there are three terraces.”

Gass is thankful that preservationists approached him, saying, “I am delighted it’s happening. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing it myself. “

An advantage to gaining landmark status: state and federal grants are available for upgrades to the exterior of the landmarked property.

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