This striking structure at 2000 W. Littleton Blvd. was the fourth home of the Title Guaranty Company and cost $200,000 to build in 1961. Joseph and Louise Marlow’s thin planar walls and equally thin roof of the International style give the structure an incredible sense of lightness, a signature of the architects. These extremely thin planes are used to carry out the exaggerated horizontal form, with one of the building’s chief visual attributes being the elegance of its proportions.
The Marlows moderated the severity of their less-is-more approach with a two-part constructivist-style ceramic tile mosaic mural created by Rene Heyvaert, a Belgian artist who spent time in Denver. The mural flanks a glass and steel lantern-like entry underneath a deep porch formed by the overhang of the roof, which is held up by piloti. The north side of the building features an extensive use of glass block.
The building is in a garden-like setting with the parking lot hidden behind and various elements integral but extraneous to the building, including a brick planting box along the north side. The eye-catching tile work on the front of the building became a conversational piece among architects and local entrepreneurs in Littleton. Unfortunately, the tiles were plastered over in the late 1980s, and the building remained that way until the current owner, Intergroup Architects, renovated the structure and returned the colorful tiles to their original luster.
Like Eugene Sternberg, the Marlows are acknowledged Modern masters in the annals of Colorado architecture. The Guaranty Company Building is one of their most artistically distinguished designs within their Miesian oeuvre of severely reductive buildings. In fact, the building is among the very finest post-war International style buildings of its type in Colorado.
Photographed by Atom Stevens
Source: “Commercial Modernism in the Greater West Littleton Boulevard Corridor, 1950–1980” by Michael Paglia and Diane Wray Tomasso.