Denver Architecture Foundation

Denver Architecture Foundation (DAF) elevates and celebrates the interconnectedness of architecture, design, community, arts and culture. Our programs embrace Denver's diverse neighborhoods and built environment as an ever-changing museum with exhibitions for people of all ages and walks of life.

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Doors Open Denver


Arts, Culture & Humanities 


General Public/Unspecified
General population


Doors Open Denver (DOD) is an annual 2-day signature event, opening doors to historic, modern, contemporary and iconic architecture sites throughout Denver, allowing thousands of participants to explore through self-guided or expert-led tours. DOD connects participants to Denver's built environment and knowledgeable experts in the areas of design, arts and humanities. Sites include museums, schools, mansions, churches, libraries and more.

In response to COVID-19, DOD 2020 went virtual with a series of online tours, the Y/OUR Denver photography competition and marketing DAF's new online Audio Tours, evergreen content focused on Denver's architectural history.


Evidence of Program's Success

On the weekend of September 21 + 22, the 15th annual Doors Open Denver shined a spotlight on 51 architectural sites and 59 unique tour locations. An estimated 7,000 people explored DOD sites and tours, all made possible with the support of nearly 400 behind-the-scenes partners and volunteers.

DOD 2019 also featured the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. Three neighborhood sites - Center for Visual Art, Su Teatro and Museo de las Américas - served as hubs for architecturally-inspired Arts + Culture Activities: hands-on construction of adobe structures, spoken word performance, live acting, recorded storytelling and a pop-up plazita with art, music and food.

Key results from DOD 2019 include:
89% of surveyed participants rated their overall Doors Open Denver 2019 experience positively
91% of surveyed participants indicated they were likely to participate in Doors Open Denver 2020
13,000 estimated site visits across 51 open sites
900 Arts + Culture patrons experiencing contributions from 35 artists
200+ volunteers, 58 site managers, 73 tour guides and 50 sponsors supported DOD
246 images submitted by DOD participants to the Y/OUR Denver Photo Contest

Youth Architecture Education / Cleworth Architectural Legacy Project and Box City




Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)


Cleworth Architectural Legacy Project (CAL), named in honor of the late Cal Cleworth, is an educational program bringing architecture and design concepts into K-8 classrooms with the help of volunteer architects, engineers, and other design professionals. CAL blends STEM and 21st Century skills to introduce students to architecture and design. Since CAL's inception, the program has served 9,000 students from 75 schools and recruited over 500 volunteers from Denver's top design firms.

Box City is an annual event for 200 K-5 students to learn about the process of urban development by designing and constructing their own building from recycled materials in the corridors of History Colorado. During the event, participants obtain Building Permits for their desired building type, draft building sketches in the Design Studio, gather supplies from the Hardware Store, then head to the Construction Zone to build their Box City structure. After their Building Inspection, participants go to the Box City street grid where an Urban Planner helps them select an appropriate building site. To end the day, participants pick up their Certificate of Occupancy that includes a photo of them with their building. This year's event was virtual with submissions from 30 students compiled in a SketchUp presentation of our "Out-of-the-Box City."


Evidence of Program's Success

Outcomes and key results from CAL 2019 include:

Outcome 1: Increase access to STEAM-focused curriculum, utilizing the built environment as subject matter.
11 teachers received training and support to implement CAL
359 students participated in CAL lessons

Outcome 2: Improve teachers' skills to implement effective learning strategies and to enhance core curriculum by using the built environment as subject matter.
88% of teachers reported their participation in the CAL Project increased their knowledge/understanding of who architects are; how to document ideas through drawings and models; and the use of plan, section and elevation

Outcome 3: Empower teachers to utilize architectural design concepts to deliver lessons focused on 21st Century Skills, such as collaboration, invention, critical thinking and reasoning.
75% of teachers reported their participation in the CAL Project increased their confidence to emphasize collaboration in lessons focused on architecture

Outcome 4: Increase students' understanding of the built environment.
75% of teachers and 90% of design professionals indicated that participation in CAL increased students' knowledge/understanding of how to document ideas through drawings and models as well as the use of plan, section and elevation

Outcome 5: Develop students' collaboration, invention, critical thinking and reasoning skills.
75% of teachers and 100% of design professionals indicated that the CAL Project provided students with opportunities to practice collaboration

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