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REI Denver Flagship

Project Overview

With 1.7 million active members, REI is the nation's largest consumer cooperative. REI's Denver Flagship, used as a retail store as well as a restaurant and assembly space, is housed in the historic 1901 Denver Tramway Powerhouse Building. The building is listed in the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places.

In line with REI's adventurous history, the Denver Flagship houses a mountain bike trail, climbing pinnacle, and a cold chamber for testing and comparing recreational gear.

Project Owner: 
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
1416 Platte Street
Denver  Colorado  80202
United States
Submitting Architect: 
Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners
Project Completion Date: 
April, 2000
Project Site Context/Setting: 
Previously Developed Land
Project Type: 
Food Service Restaurant/Cafeteria
Retail Store
Building or Project Gross Floor Area: 
89,500 square feet
Other Building Description: 

Design & Innovation

The reuse of a historic building enabled REI to save materials as well as significant energy involved in demolition and new construction. The building was designed to use 30% less energy than Colorado building energy codes mandate.

Regional/Community Design

The REI Flagship is located near a bus line as well as a bicycle trail, encouraging appropriate transportation and enabling REI to provide less parking space than would usually be required. REI provides bicycle lockers, shower and changing facilities, and free RTD EcoPasses for all employees. This is in keeping with REI's focus on recreation, health, and fitness.

Land Use & Site Ecology

In addition to limiting available parking space, REI was able to move half of the space deemed necessary underground, reducing impervious surfacing and contributions to the heat island effect.

Landscaping was seen as a critical piece of the store, serving as a testing site for boots, shoes, bikes, and even kayaks.

Materials & Construction

REI's Denver Flagship is housed in a Denver landmark. The brick building served for 50 years as the power plant for Denver's trolley system. More recently, it housed the Forney Transportation Museum's collection of train cars.

Much of the original structure was left intact. Even details were restored when possible; the design team restored 30 original windows and designed new ones to match.

Green Products Used
-Recycled-Content Porous Pavement
-Reclaimed Timbers

Green Strategies

Building Deconstruction
-Reuse existing structure
-Identify items to be reused from existing structure

Design for Materials Use Reduction
-Consider exposing structural materials as finished surfaces

Additional Images

Project Team and Contact Information

Primary Submission Contact: 
Bert Gregory, AIA
Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners
Seattle  Washington
United States
Project Team: 
Role on TeamFirst NameLast NameCompanyLocation
Contractor Hensel Phelps Construction Co. Greeley, CO
Lighting designer J. Miller & Associates Seattle, WA

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