A Capital Design
As our 17th state capitol building to visit, the Colorado statehouse took the prize for the most surprising appearance when we approached its location in downtown Denver. Scheduled for completion in 2014, a major restoration project is underway on the capitol dome, which had suffered significant damage from water infiltration and Colorado's intense freeze-thaw weather cycles. Once scaffolding was erected around the dome, that skeleton was covered with an impermeable white fabric that adheres to the scaffolding, providing an all-weather work environment and protecting the dome while work is underway.
|The shrink-wrapped Colorado State Capitol dome|
|A beautiful view wherever you look|
|Colorado Rose Onyx|
|One of twin atriums in the building wings|
|Round stained glass portraits currently darkened to black by shrink-wrap cover on dome exterior|
One blemish on the Colorado Capital lies in the legislative chambers. In a well-meaning but misguided "modernization" in the 1950s, officials decided to lower the ceilings in both legislative chambers, covering an elegant dome and skylight in each. The new ceiling was covered with acoustic tile to improve sound absorption and reduce echo. When that proved effective, it was thought to be a sound decision, so tiles were also used to cover the walls in both chambers. Fast forward 60 years, and now a project is underway to remove the tiles and restore the chambers to their historic grand style. Architects were relieved when recent spot testing of tile removal in both chambers uncovered ornate gold filigree stenciling that was layered over paint on the walls when the chambers were built in 1894.
The Colorado State Capitol ranks high on our list of the 17 statehouse we've visited to date. In addition to its eye candy appeal, the building is distinctively Coloradan, a quality we have found lacking in some otherwise outstanding capitols.
Even in this large city and with a major construction project underway, we found a street-side parking space easily about 30 yards from the building. Security was efficient, and employees we encountered were courteous if not friendly.
Colorado State Capitol Stats:
- Architectural style: Corinthian
- Exterior: Colorado granite
- Dome: 24 carat gold leaf
- Height: 272 ft
- Construction: 1886-1908
- Original cost: $2,704,875
|Eye candy everywhere|
|Grand staircase and rotunda murals depicting Colorado history|
|Gallery of (U.S.) Presidents|
|Very effective presentation with identical background, size and frame|