Some locals lament that the structure blocks the city’s iconic Jeppesen Terminal.

If airport-adjacent combined hotel-transit architecture is your thing—and c’mon, you know it is—you’ve struck gold with this new time-lapse from EarthCam. The video packs several years of construction on Denver International Airport’s so-called South Terminal Redevelopment Project into 90 seconds of infrastructural delight.

The end result resembles a gigantic version of those little lapel wing pins airlines used to give kids (others have said it’s more like a mustache). The 500-room Westin will offer travelers a place to stay near DIA, and the new light rail station will give locals a way to get there by public transportation (once it enters service in 2016). Altogether, the place has the feel of being “larger-than-life, says Denver Post fine art critic Ray Mark Rinaldi:

The project's most ambitious gesture is a curved, glass-and-steel awning that stretches horizontally from the back of the hotel toward the airport, giving cover to pedestrians crossing from train to plane. It's an impossibly long, engineering marvel at 150 feet—as long as a 15-story building is high—with no supports along the way.

And just to keep things symmetrical, there's an identical one hovering over the train tracks in front. Both are exuberant and fully modern—a nice bit of branding for the city's premiere gateway.

But among Mile High residents, feelings toward the project are notably mixed. Many are upset that the structure shields views of DIA’s Jeppesen Terminal, uniquely shaped as a series of peaks that conjure the Rockies, which Rinaldi describes as ”one of the most important pieces of architecture in the Western United States.” Jim Bradburn, one of Jeppesen’s original designers, wasn’t shy about his disapproval in a brief Denver Post op-ed:

Upon returning to Denver for a visit, I was shocked to see that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men had given my iconic design for the terminal a big black eye! And it’s right in the center as you approach the terminal. What were they thinking?

Take a look at some of the renderings below and answer for yourself.

A rendering of the new DIA hotel-transit center seen head on. (Gensler)
A nighttime rendering of the new center, seen from above, shows it blocking some views of DIA’s Jeppesen Terminal. (Gensler)
A 1995 photo from the first commercial flight at the new Denver International Airport shows the Jeppesen Terminal roof at night. (Reuters)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Passengers wait in a German subway station
    Transportation

    The Global Mass Transit Revolution

    A new report confirms that the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in mass transit.

  2. A row of homes under the Montreal sun.
    Perspective

    Why Is the Homebuilding Industry Stuck in the 1940s?

    Embrace pre-fabricated, adaptable homes! Growing inequity, out-of-reach housing prices, and the speed of innovation in energy efficiency and technology demand it.

  3. A large adventure playground with towers and slides.
    Design

    A Short Guide to Tulsa’s New $465 Million Park

    If Volcanoville and Charlie’s Water Mountain aren’t enough for you, what about a boating pond and a skate park?

  4. A shuttered factory in Muncie, Indiana
    Environment

    The Hidden Hazard in American Cities: Industrial Pollution

    Urban America is haunted by the toxic legacy of long-vanished industries.

  5. Three people study at a long table in a library hall.
    Perspective

    Worry Less About Crumbling Roads, More About Crumbling Libraries

    America’s social infrastructure is falling apart, and it’s hurting democracy.