Krisana Park represents an interesting experiment in 1950s contemporary building, incorporating one simple and modern 1,200 square foot floorplan behind a variety of different elevations.
Built by H.B. Wolff and designed by architects Frenchie Gratts of Denver’s Gratts and Warner, the 3-D Contemporary, as it was first introduced during the 1954 Home Show, was a design arrived at after the builders and architect traveled to both the east and west coasts and points between, looking for inspiration to create a cutting-edge house for the masses. Most people feel that the homes that Eichler was building in California at the time had the strongest influence on the houses in Krisana Park. When first introduced at the Home Show, Gratts identified a set of basic design elements that set the 3-D Contemporary apart from the typical tract home of the time:
- Post and beam construction.
- Wide roof overhang.
- Bringing the outdoors in with a glass wall.
- Vertical redwood siding.
- Philippine Mahogany interior paneling.
About 170 of these houses were built in Krisana Park, mixed in with a handful of larger models that came from the offering in the subsequent Lynwood neighborhood nearby. A smattering of Wolff’s mid-mods can also be found on the west side of Dahlia mixed in with more traditional models.
In present day, with an ongoing revival of the neighborhood and its unique houses, Krisana Park has become a leader in the historic preservation of its mid-century modern homes by being the first such neighborhood to achieve any sort of enforceable protections. In 2017, the neighborhood achieved a “Conservation Overlay” designation from the city of Denver. This zoning status is distinctly different than a formal historic district: it doesn’t protect against demolition, is not concerned with façade elements such as windows or siding, and doesn’t unlock state tax credits. What it does do however is establish limitations on the form of a house, in order to maintain the unique consistency that exists along Krisana Parks streets today through limitations of height, roof pitch, size, setbacks, and more. So if some demolishes an existing Krisana Park home, its replacement would at least be consistent with the neighborhood in form. If a home owner adds to their house, they would need to stay within the guidelines of the overlay, which most notably restricts against adding a second floor.
Krisana Park is part of the larger Virginia Village neighborhood that is home to several hundred mid-century modern homes. Its location is close to the Cherry Creek North shopping district, close to downtown Denver, and has good access to Denver’s bike path system.