The old Franklin Furniture building in lower downtown Denver is one of the last remaining heavy timber warehouses to undergo extensive renovation and a conversion to residential lofts. The program called for adding the maximum amount of space that could be built within the limits of the City’s building and historic codes. BlueSky Studio carefully analyzed and compared the needs and requirements arriving at a design solution that received approval from the Denver building Department, the LoDo Design Review Board and the building’s adjacent neighbors.

The addition of two stories to the top of the building posed many problems that required uniquely creative solutions. For example, simply adding more stories of heavy timber construction was not permitted by the building code. BlueSky Studio negotiated “Life Safety Equivalents” with the Denver Building Department that resulted in a safer building, albeit one taller than what would normally be permitted.

The design responded to and met the strict guidelines of the Department of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings by successfully addressing the context of its surroundings, while making a clear statement that the addition was not part of the original construction. By employing lightweight exterior walls, structural reinforcing was limited to that which was required by the code for the additional wind loads imposed on the structure.



1745 Wazee St.
Denver, Colorado

34 Residential Lofts
Historic Renovation / Addition-1996
75,000 SF
Cost: $5.5 million