The design team responded to a unique challenge posed by the 3.2-acre former brownfield site by designing an unprecedented five-level recreation center — the first multilevel urban recreation center in Colorado. Locating the full-size high school basketball court over the pool represented one of the most difficult technical challenges, requiring months of collaboration between the design and construction teams to control vibrations and ensure the humid, corrosive natatorium atmosphere could not infiltrate the gym and damage its wood flooring.
A comprehensive public engagement process revealed this center had to preserve and build upon physical and visual connections to its surroundings to be successful. The design purposefully angled the street level of the building away from the street to preserve a view to the historic East High School and allow pedestrians to cross through the site. Additionally, the design reduced barriers between the indoor and outdoor experience by including expansive glass at street level and on upper floors, an exterior climbing wall attached to the building, an LED art piece titled “Circuit” that integrates into the facade and dynamically changes based on activity inside the building, and large garage doors in the group fitness and event rooms on the third, fourth and fifth levels to bring in fresh air.
The fitness floor and group fitness rooms, each dynamic and busy spaces located on the third and fourth levels, provide participants with rooftop views of the city and the State Capitol. The rooftop event space, perched on the fifth level, offers the broadest visual connection, reaching beyond the city to the iconic Rocky Mountains.