Prominent Colorado architect Guion Cabell “Cab” Childress served as the University of Denver architect from 1994-1999 and as architect emeritus until his death in 2006.
In the late 1970s, he designed a Grand County home for Daniel Ritchie. Ritchie became chancellor of the University of Denver in 1989, and in 1992, he asked Childress for his advice on a DU project that became the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness. By 1993, Childress was hard at work designing additional University of Denver projects.
Childress was the principal architect of signature DU buildings — F.W. Olin Hall, the Ritchie Center, the Stapleton Tennis Pavilion, the Daniels College of Business and the Robert & Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts.
During his long career, Childress designed a number of important buildings around the Rocky Mountain Region. Notable examples are the Foothills Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Fort Collins, Colo.; the Samuel Gary Oil Producer’s headquarters in Inverness Park; the George T. O’Malley Visitor Center at Roxborough State Park; the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Englewood, Colo.; and the University of Colorado Theatre and Dance Building.
Childress was born March 13, 1932, and grew up in Tampa, Fla. It was there he met his future wife, Penelope (Pen) Nace. Childhood sweethearts, they began dating when they were 13 and were married June 19, 1954. After 50 years of marriage, she preceded him in death in 2004. Childress once told an interviewer he became an architect because Penelope, then his girlfriend, told him she wouldn’t marry a forest ranger.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Childress earned a bachelor of arts in architecture from the University of Colorado in 1958. Childress began his nearly half-century-long architectural career in 1961 with the Denver firm of W.C. Muchow. By 1966, he had opened his own firm, Cabell Childress Architects.
During his career, he taught at the University of Denver, University of Colorado and Kansas State University. He also served as president of the Colorado Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, architect’s chair at the Colorado Historical Review Board and as a member of the Design Review Board for the University of Colorado System. Childress was honored in 2003 as Denver Architect of the Year and Colorado Architect of the Year by the American Institute of Architects.
The University of Denver (www.du.edu), the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region, enrolls approximately 11,117 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Denver as a Research University with high research activity.