In the early 1950s Tom operated the partnership’s office in Grand Junction and opened temporary offices in Durango and Glenwood Springs.  Spending summers with his family in a cottage on the Crystal River, he continued to take projects in the Roaring Fork Valley and all of Western Colorado, as well as commuting over Loveland Pass to jobs in the Denver area.

Moore had studied architecture at Yale with Eero Saarinen, and when Saarinen was hired to design the original tent for the second Goethe Festival in Aspen in 1950, he retained Moore to supervise its construction.  Now 42, Moore became a participant in the recurring International Design Conference at the Aspen Institute, and here he began a lasting association with Buckminster Fuller.  Tom built his first dome in Aspen in 1953, a plywood structure with various colored plastic in its irregular small “windows,” giving a colorful effect lighted from within at night.

From 1950 to 1952, Smith, Hegner and Moore’s Western Slope projects included Maplecrest Farm Dairy, a newspaper plant, and City Market warehouse at Grand Junction; a bank building and City Market at Glenwood Springs; Montrose airport terminal; and several schools in Western Colorado as well as in Denver.  Independently, Moore designed a ranch house for the Schweppe family near Basalt, a new Pabst residence  on Upper Snowmass Creek, a ranch house for the Whatley family near Debeque, and  he produced a survey and design for schools in the Collbran School District.  His final Western Slope project for the partnership was a modern building at the State Home and Training School in Grand Junction, where he was one of the first to apply thinshell concrete in a folded-plate roof (a series of Z-shaped panels).  His last independent project in Grand Junction was a new residence for Director of the Grand Junction VA Hospital, Dr. Stanley Crosbie, and his wife, the sculptor Helen Blair.

In 1952, Smith, Hegner, and Moore dissoleved their partnership and each returned to private practice.  Tom moved his family back to Denver.  With his own practice well established, his emphasis on Modernism was giving way to an interest in thin-shell concrete and its application to large-span construction, including the geodesic dome.  Two significant projects in 1954 were a hangar for Combs Hayden Aviation at Stapleton Airport in Denver, and a new facility for his late father’s enterprise, the H W Moore Equipment Company, now owned by Tom’s older brother John.  Also in 1954, Moore designed a gymnasium and locker-room remodel at West High School in Denver, and a residence for Dr. Henry Folmer in a relatively new northeast Denver neighborhood.

Tom took on another school project in 1955:  a library and gymnasium addition to Bromwell Elementary School in central East Denver.  After designing a retail store for the W T Grant Company in Aurora, he was retained by the George W Clayton College, originally an orphanage in Denver whose campus had been designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.  Tom’s files do not describe the nature of this project.  In 1955 Moore traveled to Mexico City to consult with the Spanish architect Felix Candela regarding large-span concrete structures, and subsequently, in partnership with structural engineer Hugh Hyder of Denver, established Shell Structures, Inc., specifically for large lightweight precast-concrete projects.  They built an expansive garage for Denver Chicago Trucking, 1955-56, and an innovative covered water-diversion canal for the Denver Water Board, among several other industrial projects.  Another of Moore’s personal jobs in the mid-1950s was the Faculty Club at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area near the Continental Divide.

The rest of the decade brought a substantial increase in projects through Shell Structures.  Independently, Moore designed St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in southeast Denver; a Denver residence for Melvin Roberts; and he was retained by the Episcopal Bishop of Colorado to design a prototypical parish house for use throughout the diocese.  He also consulted on a church design in Silver Spring, Maryland, and one in Lorain, Ohio.

Throughout the 1950s, Tom’s interest in the design and application of old ideas in the construction of new architectural forms, especially geodesic domes, kept him occupied with spare-time experiments.  Since the International Design Conference in Aspen in 1950, Moore had maintained steady collaboration with Bucky Fuller, and by the end of the decade he had developed techniques making lightweight concrete a viable material for construction of Fuller’s geodesic dome.

View of the city block occupied by Gilpin School.

Gilpin School Addition, Denver – 1950

The large red-brick Gilpin School was built for Denver Public Schools, located north of downtown Denver at 2949 California. Today it is a Montessori Public School.

The original University Park School can be seen at far right of new complex.

University Park School Addition, Denver – 1950

In 1950 Moore designed an extensive addition to the historic University Park School in Southeast Denver.

Ignacio High School, 1950.

Ignacio School, Ignacio – 1950

Moore designed the new Ignacio High School in Ignacio, near Durango, serving southeast La Plata County and the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, in 1950.

Mason Elementary, Durango, 1951.

Mason Elementary School, Durango – 1951

Needham Elementary School is still in use, with minor additions.

Needham Elementary School, Durango – 1951

Needham Elementary is still in use, with minor additions.

Originally, the second-story balcony, with doors to the bedrooms, was not enclosed. The ground-floor solarium was added later.

Pabst Residence, Old Snowmass – 1951

A new residence was designed and built for Harald ‘Shorty’ and Patsy Pabst on Upper Snowmass Creek near the original settlement of Snowmass. Now the home of the Windstar Foundation, the house has been modified, most noticeably with the enclosure of the south-facing second-story covered porch. Finished in 1952, much of the original interior is intact.

Southwest corner of house in 2011.

Crosbie Residence, Grand Junction – 1952

Tom’s last personal project on the Western Slope was a new residence for Director of the Grand Junction VA Hospital, Dr. Stanley Crosbie, and his wife, the sculptor Helen Blair. This house has been maintained and expertly restored by the Benge family, who have owned it since purchasing it from the Crosbies in the late 1950s.

Street view of Folmer residence.

Folmer Residence, Denver – 1954

Folmer residence, Denver. House faces west. Stone trim added later. Interior living space has ample south-facing glass.

Showroom at northwest corner of building, main service garage at left.

H W Moore Equipment Company, Commerce City – 1954

Several years after the H W Moore Equipment Company had moved from Lower Downtown Denver to Sixth and Bannock, it needed to expand again, and in 1954 construction began on its new facility at 60th and Colorado Boulevard. The roof of this building is an example of thinshell folded-plate construction, engineered by Milo Ketchum. The company served the Rocky Mountain Region with road & bridge, dam, and heavy construction equipment under John’s and son Gerald’s leadership. After the company was sold, it was eventually demolished to make room for a Commerce City shopping center.

Steps leading to front door. Note corner windows.

William Grant Residence at S. Humboldt, Denver – 1955

Grant residence at 101 S Humboldt, overlooking the Denver Country Club golf course. Prue Grant continued to live in the house until her death at age 99 in July 2012, .