JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE and members of the Denver community came together this month to celebrate the progress of 1999 Chestnut Place, which includes the renovation of Denver’s first firehouse. Stops along the hardhat tour, hosted by Denver Architecture Foundation, included the main lobby, second-floor ballroom, amenity spaces and guest suites of the soon-to-open Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station.
Special attention was paid to the historic Hose Company No. 1. Built in the early 1880s, this firehouse served Denver for 14 years until the railroads blocked its access to the city. Once complete, this historic space will serve as a premier restaurant.
JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE’s design of 1999 Chestnut Place seamlessly balances the massing of the 12-story hotel with the two-story firehouse. Preserving the building’s history, our team incorporated design elements that celebrate Denver’s past, like the hooks used to tie up horses to the outside of the firehouse and the fire doors that will open up to a patio space.
Although restoring these historic gems is always worth it, the meticulous process of stabilizing century-old buildings can bring unexpected challenges. A skylight, suggested by Boss Architecture, was incorporated to overcome an obstacle of the building’s roof, which was severely charred and damaged from a previous fire. Now, the skylight of the restaurant can be seen from inside the hotel’s upper floors, giving guests a twinkling view at night.
The original brick on the firehouse was made of Denver clay, making it extremely soft. The mason sourced similar brick from projects and places around Colorado to maintain the building’s integrity. An interior steel structure was built to stabilize the original walls and support the new skylight. During the restoration, JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE opened up several windows which had been previously bricked closed to flood the space with natural light.
Look for more updates on this project as it nears completion in April!