Denver Open Media Foundation

700 Kalamath Street

Denver Open Media Foundation

The exterior of the concrete block and brick structure at West 7th Avenue and Kalamath Street is unassuming in appearance. It’s an example of the common commercial architecture that can be found everywhere, responding more to the need for utility than the desire for high design. Often constructed with inexpensive materials and simple, well established techniques these buildings are efficient and practical, filling the needs of millions across the country.

The rectangular building faces south toward 7th where parking separates it from the street. The west façade at Kalamath is clad in tan brick that wraps to the south face to enclose the building entrance. Here, there are floor to ceiling glass assemblies lighting the small entry. The west façade also holds floor to ceiling glazing, as well as large clerestory windows. Back on the south elevation and opposite the entrance is an overhead door and a second storefront with an entrance door under a balcony. Metal awnings shield openings on this southern side only. Other fenestration is limited to the square windows around the upper portions of the building.

After more than a decade as Pallas Photo, the 22,000-square-foot building at 700 Kalamath Street was purchased by Teammates Commercial Interiors in 2002. Teammates, a local office furniture supplier, renovated extensively, turning the space into a showroom and leaving only the 7,000-square-foot photo finishing lab on the ground floor unchanged. Teammates sold the building and moved in 2004, and by 2005 Open Media Foundation (OMF) had begun renting the space. They renovated the old photo lab with funding from the City of Denver, outfitted it with state-of-the-art technology and turned it into two TV/radio studios that are now occupied by Denver Open Media and independent radio station KGNU. OMF has since filled the upper floor with media and nonprofit organizations so that today the building is home to The Colorado Independent, Just Media, Hollywood Showcase, Fresh Tape Media and the Colorado People’s Alliance. When OMF launched a new Radio station in 2017 with denhac, Denver’s first Hacker Space, denhac transformed the remaining 2,000 square feet of storage area into a maker space, complete with 3D printers, laser etchers and shared tools. The original Teammates design is still in tact inside and their open office plan can be observed throughout.

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