The Dahlia Square project presented an opportunity for me to bridge my academia studies with tangible socioeconomic issues plaguing most underserved communities all across the nation. As underserved communities become marginalized due to deteriorating infrastructure, gentrification, and poverty, historic commercial developments like Dahlia Square fall between the crosshairs of obsolete abandonment.
The initial concept and program was geared towards the revitalization of the Denver Park Hill community, initiated through the design and development of a new athletic facility that operates as a private enterprise. This particular business model has been proven successful in other large cities with comparable pockets of dilapidated commercial strips, and if properly programmed, can simultaneously provide community programs and functions that will meet the social needs of the local residents in the lower-income neighborhoods of the Denver metropolitan area. This facility, while unique in its design, will simultaneously provide a 24 hour safe-haven for teens and will be used by people all across the city. It will also serve as a catalyst for new development, both within Dahlia Square and around the Park Hill neighborhood.
One main focus during the early stages of the design concept was to create a building and form that would reflect the programmatic activities facilitated within. The infused program would convincingly inspire the form, and effectively capture the dynamic reflection between the graceful skill of basketball with the flowing shifts of the building, both inside and out. The poetic motion and lightness one experiences while swimming in water was also incorporated and elegantly tied into recreating the structural form of the floating roof as it separated from the sweeping wall below with a trail of thin glass on both sides. The continuous arch graciously moves upward and is used on the exterior of the building as load bearing walls, which manage to reflect the characteristics and space of the programs taking place inside through punched openings and glass curtain walls that allow views inside the gymnasium and pool.
Status: School Project
Location: Denver, CO, US