The Expressionist style Arapahoe County Bank at 5804 S. Datura St. designed by Earl Chester Morris was first constructed in 1958. However, the building’s current appearance reflects a thorough redesign by Morris in 1963, just two years before he died.
The complex roof and structural forms of the Expressionist style give the building a distinctively sophisticated look. The entry features a glass and metal box with a separate roof detail and a small-scale zigzag roofline. This structure is set out from a glass curtain wall covering the front of the building’s core, which is a simple rectangle with a shallow gable roof and an overhanging cantilevered eave on the south side. A rectilinear volume set to the north side pushes forward, and is subtly cantilevered so that it floats over the ground. The north side features a folded plate roof that mirrors the entry’s roof in a larger-scale. Between the box-like wing and zigzag roof are clerestory windows. Recently, the building’s green tinted aggregate panels and brick were painted, but this could be restored in the future.
The Columbia University-trained Morris, an acknowledged Master of Modern Architecture in Colorado, launched his local career in the mid-1930s. Like Sternberg and the Marlows, Morris was active in Littleton community affairs. He is buried in Littleton Cemetery marked by a monument by Littleton artist Varian Ashbaugh.
Photographed by Rick Cronenberger
Source: “Commercial Modernism in the Greater West Littleton Boulevard Corridor, 1950–1980” by Michael Paglia and Diane Wray Tomasso.