Semple Brown | Architects & Designers

Semple Brown | Architects & Designers

Denver, CO


Root Down & Reach Up!

By archaalto
Aug 2, '12 11:36 AM EST

Root Down & Reach Up!
AECOM, Carve & Semple Brown Design team selected as a finalist in the international design competition for an innovative $5 million playground in Denver, Colorado.
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) has challenged top design teams to re-think the current definition of play as a unique, multi-generational, multi-faceted experience in Denver’s Historic City Park. The goal of the design competition titled Re-imagine Play is to build an iconic playground unlike any before that will promote healthy living in an urban public space.

The AECOM office in Denver assembled a team of experts to take on this challenge including Carve, a creative and innovative design and engineering firm from the Netherlands that specializes in play in public space for all ages. AECOM and Carve’s concept is inspired by a desire to reach up into City Park's tree canopy and to reach outward to engage the adjacent urban neighborhoods. At the heart of the concept hills and canyons frame three otherworldly interconnected tree structures that reach more than 50 feet skyward. These trees are fully accessible, climbable play structures that provide a multitude of play experiences and exhilarating views. Beneath the trees, roots s pread out into four themed play areas that draw their inspiration from the surrounding park and community.
The project is partially funded by the Colorado Health Foundation, which supports numerous health-oriented programs around the state. One of the Foundation’s goals for the Re-imagine Play project is to increase access to active recreation for underserved children and families, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, geography or other limitations.
The competition began in March with the request for proposals, attracting firms from around the globe. Eight semi-finalists were selected to develop design concepts that were displayed publicly for one month. The public was invited to vote for their favorite entries which guided DPR to choose the three final concepts including AECOM and Carve's submission, "Root Down & Reach Up!"
The three finalists present their concepts to the public on July 24th. Shortly after, one team will be chosen to lead their winning design concept into reality.
AECOM's design team includes: Laurel Raines, Elger Blitz (Carve), Gretchen Wilson, Hannah Schubert (Carve), Kaia Nesbitt, Dru Schwyhart (Semple Brown), Brandon Sobiech, Suzanne Serna, Thomas Groenstege (Carve), and Tracy Flecky.
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Visit the Re-imagine Play competition website