Historic New Home for Telluride Arts

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On February 6, 2018, the day Elon Musk flung his red Roadster beyond the Mars orbit towards an Asteroid Belt, Town Council gave the green light to pursue the visionary design for the revitalization of Telluride Transfer Warehouse based on the design proposed by the New York-based, award-winning architectural firm LTL.

The plan is for the reincarnated space to once again serve as, well, a warehouse – but this time, a warehouse (for the transfer) of the arts (writ large), under the guidance and supervision of Kate Jones, executive director of Telluride Arts, a regional rainmaker.

But exactly how will that vision play out?

The lead architect on the project is David Lewis, one of the “Ls” in LTL. He tells it like it is – or will be.

“Our design for Transfer Warehouse transforms the space through a creative engagement between old and new, past, present and future, between flexible and highly calibrated spaces,” explains Lewis. “The project respects the existing stone walls by inserting a new multi-story wood volume within them to create a climate-controlled space for exhibitions. Stone and wood respect the building’s heritage, but we also are introducing the latest, most sustainable materials, state-of-the-art timber technology to provide warmth and character throughout. The large space between the old stone walls and the new timber volume is the great hall: the perfect place for gatherings and events. The new structure will feature an open and flexible lobby, complete with place for coffee and tea next to the museum shop, small exhibition space for featured local artists and offices. The main gallery is on the second floor. The large, flexible space will accommodate a diversity of art forms. On top is the roof bar and an open deck, designed to give the public a spectacular place to build community, while taking in the panoramic view of the box canyon. Between the new timber volume and the historic stone walls is the main circulation stairway, which connects the performance and film space in the lower level with the top floor. Overall, the project aims to amplify the future of Telluride by cultivating a dynamic relationship to its past and supporting its present, evolving needs.”

And the Warehouse programming?

Will form follow function?

Will LTL’s exciting design prove to be a powerful magnet that attracts and produces world-class cultural events, potentially of international acclaim?

Jones answers thoughtfully, walking the fine line between staying true to the ethos of the Telluride region, that unrestrained, untamed, and unfiltered mountain lifestyle we celebrate, at the same time channeling that spirit into a vision for the future.

“We see the Warehouse as quintessential Telluride—planned by and for the local community – and yet big enough to be responsive to inspiring global impulses.”

Her overall strategy focuses on local talent and on cutting-edge, contemporary programming across mediums made possible in Telluride by the caliber of the beautifully conceived and designed Warehouse venues.

Telluride Arts’ initiatives in the Warehouse will complement the Library and Ah Haa, its simpatico neighbors on Telluride’s “art corner” at Fir & Pacific.

Spaces in the phoenix of a building will provide state-of-the-art options for film, plus opportunities for performing artists to offer intimate concerts.

Radio and TV broadcasts in the vein of Tiny Desk Concerts and thought-provoking curated, traveling museum shows combined with lectures and educational programs are also part of the plan.

The (almost) 4,000-square-foot open gallery space in the Warehouse is unique in the region. LTL is designing that as a white box or blank canvas for curators and artists to fill with edgy, provocative, large-scale installations by established and emerging artists from near and far.

Even in its current fetal state, the Warehouse has inspired the Ballet Collective to film a dance; Yonder Mountain to film an impromptu music video; and local artist Katy Parnello to install choreographed light and wood works.

All things for all people?


But also the best of all possible worlds.

Summing up Jones’s goal for the resurrected structure: to engage and amaze.

To spread the light from within the light-filled space.

View the Transfer Telluride residences, located at Telluride’s hottest new address, near the triad of the Wilkinson Public Library and the soon to be home of the Ah Haa School for the Arts and Telluride Art Headquarters at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse.

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