Rail Yard Lofts | Denver, CO

Rediscovery of ‘Enveloped’ or Hidden Architectural Space


By the act of strategic building removal- getting to the ‘bones’ of the original 100 year old brick structures- raw interior and exterior spaces were revealed and transformed into ‘archetypal’ urban living conditions. This is something other than historic preservation, closer to a heart, lung & liver transplant, with the intent to provide urban-loft housing as an adaptive reuse of a 1.3 acre industrial property.


Rail Yard Lofts is conceived as a secure, hardened-edge neighborhood block of small, clustered buildings with front doors leading to landscaped courtyards and shared passages between buildings and thus providing residents access throughout the community site. The quality of the spaces in and around the existing masonry buildings (and what has been done with them) helps define the sense of place.

project requirements

To see through the layers of what was no longer necessary and create an authentic Loft community built around sheltered outdoor spaces within an industrial neighborhood.


  • Two courtyards for gatherings, outdoor exercise and community functions
  • Porches, balconies and shared courtyards emphasize an indoor-outdoor connection
  • Modern architectural massing and carefully articulated details
  • Natural light and ventilation


  • Solar hot water heating
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Naturally lit corridors
  • Energy Star® appliances
  • 80% of construction waste recycled
  • Recycled content carpet
  • Sunshades at south-facing windows
  • Native drought tolerant planting
  • Permeable concrete paving
  • Linoleum flooring in common areas
  • Stained concrete as finish floor
  • Bioswales for rainwater retention
  • Low VOC paint, caulking and adhesives
  • Urban infill project near public transportation and services


  • AIA Architects’ Choice Award, 2006
  • AIA Colorado Young Architects Award for 05.BA – Built Architecture, 2008
  • Multi-Housing News Design Award, Winner-Adaptive Reuse, 2008


  • Building size/acres: 60,392 sq.ft./1.37 acres
  • Density: 51 units/acre
  • Completion: February 2008

Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP