client: city of denver
After an extensive public dialogue on its original design and performance, the City of Denver decided on a redesign of Skyline Park, downtown Denver’s only public open space. The three-block long, three-acre, linear park is at the center of downtown Denver and is bisected by the 16th Street Mall, a lively pedestrian space that connects many of Denver’s attractions and transit hubs. Designed by Lawrence Halprin in the 1970’s with sunken fountains, walls and berms, and without a sidewalk, the park was seen by many as a failed space, disconnected from nearby activities and streets, unsafe and plagued by a variety of social ills. The city’s goal was to carefully rethink the park’s program and profile in the re-emerging downtown and transform it into a vibrant civic venue for residents and workers as well as a locus of civic gatherings. An extensive public dialogue and outreach to Halprin ensued resulting in a direction for the park that would be based on memory and downtown’s future.
The linear park is conceived as a series of interwoven ribbons of new elements and materials. Existing Halprin elements, such as the fountains, have been sensitively retrofitted and combined with shade tree canopies and open lawns. Throughout the park are lawns—some flexible level areas that host a variety of celebrations and events; others lawn promontories from which daily urban life can be viewed. Café kiosks, shade pavilions, and interactive fountains contribute to the park’s extended activity. This system of intermingling layers—of elements old, new and adapted, at ground level and overhead—dramatically transforms these three blocks into a vibrant, successful and beloved park in the heart of downtown Denver.
President’s Award – Downtown Denver Partnership