Coming up with a name for one of Denver’s newest and tallest residential buildings was the easy part. The Confluence was built adjacent to Confluence Park, at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Denver’s Lower Downtown. Coming up with the right look for the 35-story development was a trickier proposition, but thanks to the incorporation of metal wall panels from Morin, a Kingspan Group Company, the effort was just as successful.
In addition to great views and the benefits that come with living next to a vibrant, scenic park, The Confluence offers is residents a laundry list of luxury amenities. The project was completed in the summer of 2017 after three years of construction, but not without overcoming significant challenges related to zoning and the site itself.
Due to zoning restrictions, the building could occupy only about 20% of the 52,000 sq. ft. parcel that had been acquired for the project. Within that small footprint, the project’s design team was eventually able to place the 375’-tall tower, which features a four-story wing and a separate-but-attached six-story unit. Ground breaking for the project was in 2014 and soon after, excavation crews encountered coal tar. If that wasn’t enough, they also had to deal with head pressures of groundwater on the foundation three levels underground. Instead of looking at these limitations and restrictions negatively, Charles Gromatzky, lead architect and founder of Dallas-based GDA Architects, insists that they helped to inspire the building’s design.
“I think the actual lines of demarcation that cut across the site began to dictate the shape of the tower. And then when we saw the outboard diagrams we simply shaped some soft curves within those spaces to soften the tower shape and the tower itself began to resemble the beginning of a soft flower unfolding.”
To Gromatsky, the proximity to the flowing river dictated that the building could not be square and instead should mimic its curves.
“We knew that the building was going to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood by its sheer height,” says Gromatzky. “What we wanted to do was generate a shape to the building that began to move and have some motion as you went around it. It’s a really flowing shape. The building changes from every angle. It has a fluidity. It will never look the same from any area whatsoever.”
An interesting feature of the building—the bridge between the low-rise and the mid-rise structure—came about because of the zoning laws protecting the view of the park from the street. The bridge is a signature piece of the structure now because it features a pool with an elegant glass wall that opens up to the park.
Over 5,000 square feet of Morin's F-12 panel was used for this project. The panels were formed form 18-gauge galvalume steel and installed vertically with a negative pressure clip design to withstand high wind loads. This design, combined with the heavy-duty panels, is essential for a building 35 stories high in the mile-high city. Two colors of panels were used: bright silver and weathered zinc which has a blueish hue. They were arranged randomly on two faces of the tower to give the effect of falling water. To enhance this effect, programmable LED lights were run along the edge of the building and light up at night.
Sustainability was a huge factor for the architects. Morin panels are produced with sustainable metals and are LEED certified so they satisfied the design team’s commitment to achieving LEED Gold Certification.
Such a tall tower in the middle of a park might it seem obtrusive but looking at the tower at sunset when locals are taking an evening stroll through the park and fishing in the river, it is anything but. It is stunning. The light reflects off the glass and the sleek metal panels really do resemble cascading water.
Gromatzky comments that the Confluence will be one of the nicest buildings GDA architects has ever done and that it will set high standards for multi-family structures in Colorado.