While not a household name in Denver, Burnham Hoyt is one of the more influential architects during Denver’s mid 20th century. His most visible projects include Red Rocks Amphitheater and the original north-wing/rotunda of the Central Denver Public Library set the foundation in my opinion for the Michael Graves addition.
Hoyt was known for his residences which combined the traditional conservative designs favored by the wealthy yet bringing in a modern aesthetic known as The International Style. While some of his homes are classified as mid-century modern, they are truly International Style as his practice shut down in 1955 and he passed in 1960.
While many of his private residences have been altered beyond recognition and a few gems including The Botcher School (1900 Downing) have been completely razed, a few commercial and residential building remain not significantly altered. His primary home at 3130 E. Exposition Ave from 1945 to 1960 remains intact. Another gem at 545 Circle Drivehas been lovingly restored by SempleBrown.
Within the last week another home attributed to Hoyt came on the market at 2125 E. Hawthorne Pl in the Denver Country Club neighborhood. A quiet street within the larger neighborhood, Hawthorne Place, like Circle and Westwood Drives are considered the pinnacle of addresses in the neighborhood.
2125 E. Hawthorne Pl while not as dramatic and bold as 545 Circle Dr is still a testament to the design tastes of Denver’s elite during the mid 20th-century. While many mansions were built in the neighborhood, the Hoyt design captures and flow and size of the neighboring mansions yet encapsulated in a more international style design yet softened by cornices and other exterior features. With its side entry and mature landscaping the house is not as visible from the street as 545 Circle.
The interior is typical Hoyt with square and rectangular functional rooms perfect for entertaining yet also for daily living. Even through multiple owners various interior elements literally bring the viewer back to the 1950’s (constructed in 1954)from the stair railings to the heating elements. The way the home integrates with the surrounding lot is a Hoyt signature understanding the mild climate and designing for our 300 days of sunshine/year.
If the house is ever available to view on an open-house be sure to visit. While we are blessed to have neighborhoods including Krisana Park known for its mid-century moderns, if you wish to see the foundation for such design in Denver, visit a few Burnham Hoyt structures, you will be amazed.