Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Civic (In)Justice: Steven Holl's Justice Center Design

Penny Parker reports in this morning's Rocky Mountain News that:

New York-based architect Steven Holl may be out of the Denver Justice Center's courthouse project, but it's still possible to see the design he was going to propose for the building. A group of young architects has joined with the firm Deproduction to organize a screening of Holl's courthouse design proposal from 8 to 10 tonight on the west wall of the Denver Art Museum.

They call the effort "Civic (In)Justice: Lamenting Loss. Holl," and note "the citizens of Denver deserve better than the tragedy and erosion of public process that has unfolded at the Justice center."

Organizers say the program is on no matter the weather, because the system being used had an FM transmitter so people can watch and listen from their cars.

The irony? Tonight was the night that Holl and jail designer Lee Becker of Hartman-Cox Architects were to make their design presentations to the public.
Reviewing the Denver City Council's Finance Committee's stream of October 4th, it is instructive that James Mejia, the "Project Manager" for the Denver Justice Center responded to a question from Councilman Charley Brown with regard to whether or not a re-bid of this project was necessitated due to Mr. Holl leaving the project. The Klipp proposal was, after all, accepted with the inclusion of Steven Holl as the sub-contracting architect for the Justice Center court structure.
Mejia responded that: (I paraphrase) "What we wouldn't do is go out for bid again. We just don't have time."

My question (having served in public procurement for way too many years) is what is in the contract with Klipp that precludes the necessity to rebid if an integral part of the chosen, agreed upon, hailed plan was the presence and talent of Steven Holl? I'm sure time is of the essence with the project, but simply obviating procurement "best practices," not to mention the intense selection process that was conducted and which led to the contract that included Steven Holl's talents, seems like a fast track to, um, further issue after issue after issue with this project.

P.S. For what it's worth:
The architect selection jury for the courthouse and downtown detention facility was composed of the following individuals:

Rachel Ahalt Designer, Buchanan Yonushewski Group Laura Aldrete Assistant Director, Denver Urban Renewal Authority Joe Aragon President, Proserve Jeffrey Bayless Chief Judge, Denver District Court Billie Bramhall Golden Triangle Neighborhood Association Hubert Farbes Partner, Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber Larry Friedberg Architect, State of Colorado Mark Gelernter Dean, CU Architecture & Planning Dennis Humphries Principal, Humphries Poli Architects Frances Koncilja Principal, Koncilja & Associates Bill Lovingier Chief, Denver Sheriff’s Department Linda Nugent Golden Triangle Arts District Sharon Nunnally Consultant, Denver Landmark Preservation Commission Peter Park Manager, Community Planning & Development Dept. Jeanne Robb Denver City Councilwoman, District #10 Mark Rodgers University Architect, University of Denver Elizabeth Wright Ingraham Principal, Elizabeth Wright Ingraham Architects Ex-officio jury members are: James Mejía Project Manager, Denver Justice Center David Tryba Principal, David Owen Tryba Architects Larry Witzling President, Planning and Design Institute.

Guess these folks just didn't know what they were doing in selecting the Klipp/Holl collaboration.

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