Meow Wolf opens installation-filled venue on site wedged between Denver viaducts

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Meow Wolf opens installation-filled venue on site wedged between Denver viaducts

Art company Meow Wolf collaborated with 150 artists to create a series of immersive installations made from mostly salvaged materials for its Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects-designed venue in Denver.

Known for its psychedelic design gallery in New Mexico, Meow Wolf has expanded its programming by opening the Convergence Station venue in a narrow gap between three viaducts near downtown Denver.

Meow Wolf’s Denver location is sandwiched between three freeways. The photo is by Parrish Ruiz De Velasco

The Denver space aims to expand on Meow Wolf’s mission to enliven art communities and make art more accessible and attractive to people.

“We have a mission to make art that is as accessible to a billionaire as a minimum wage worker and to create experiences that are accessible to them—not just financially, but spiritually accessible as well,” said Senior Creative Director Chadney Everett .

Meow Wolf Denver light at night
The space is a permanent gallery designed by a collective of artists. The photo is by Parrish Ruiz De Velasco

A certified B-Corp, Meow Wolf has commissioned more than 150 artists to complete the diverse array of permanent and temporary installations within the venue’s gallery spaces.

The installations will be constantly updated to make the space a “living space for the art community in Denver,” Everett explained.

Meow Wolf Denver lobby
Due to the limited space, the architects and planners decided to take advantage of the height of the galleries

Built specifically for the arts organization, the structure is informally referred to by the team as the “sleepy pizza” because of its shape, which is dictated by the building’s site, which is traversed by freeway overpasses.

Colorado studio Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects designed the building envelope, working closely with the architectural team at Meow Wolf.

Meow Wolf installation inside
Each space has a different theme

It has white fiber cement panels on the exterior and is illuminated by strips of light along the facade.

“The site is perfect or Meow Wolf: it’s stark, challenging, limited and complicated,” said Dan Craig, project architect at Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects.

“As Meow Wolf rises above its surrounding context, its facade shines in the bright Denver sun and reflects an ever-changing array of colors at night, transforming a transportation corridor into a place where people and art come together.”

Meow Wolf green room Denver
Many of the installations are interactive

The venue has a lobby, event space and four primary gallery spaces that take advantage of the five-story structure with wall-to-wall decoration and design. A series of smaller galleries line the space as well.

Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects also included modular, movable walls to allow for future changes to the interior spaces.

Cathedral in Meow Wolf Denver
Permanent installations are mixed with spaces intended to hold growing collections

The first major gallery, called Ice Cities of Eemia, features an icy alien landscape filled with emulations of high-tech gadgets. In the center of this space is a miniature stained-glass cathedral.

Another gallery features C Street – a bustling, colorful steampunk world that uses a salvaged utility truck and bus as centerpieces. A walkway resembling a train crossing allows viewers to view the exhibit from above.

Dystopian city street Denver Meow Wolf
Many of the rooms have integrated walkways on the upper level to better view the installations

Numina – a “6th dimension” space that uses representations of organic matter to create an alien world, and Ossuary – a catacomb-like space with sculptures made from books occupy the other primary spaces.

Smaller galleries contain other installations, including Gremlin Symphony with walls made of instruments and road signs, and a plaster cave-like room with a ceiling material resembling a disco ball.

Everett said that providing different viewpoints for the exhibits was a critical aspect of designing the experience.

He also noted that the team tried to use as “broad of a palette as possible” when choosing materials for the space, something that was added to by the fact that many of the displays were made from salvaged materials.

Meow Wolf Denver
Many smaller themed rooms connect the larger installations

Meow Wolf began in 2008 and opened its first permanent installation in New Mexico. The organization has also expanded to Los Vegas. Other organizations that showcase immersive design include the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada.

Photography is by Kate Russel, unless noted.

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