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By Etosha Moh
Apr 9, '24 7:19 PM EST

Following an international selection process, RIOS’ phase two planning and schematic design for the downtown Boulder Civic Area aims to create an energetic 27-acre recreational hub connecting community and nature.

City of Boulder Selects RIOS to Transform Boulder's Civic Area

Illustration by RIOS

Boulder, CO, April 2024 – Renowned international design collective RIOS has been selected to transform Boulder's Civic Area into a vibrant recreational destination at the confluence of community and nature. RIOS will work with the City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department on the project, known as Civic Area Phase 2.

Building on the Department’s 2015 Master Plan and the 2018 Phase One park improvement project, RIOS' Boulder office will explore a multilayered strategy that prioritizes environmental resilience, connectivity, and community-first activations and experiences that will transform this public space in the heart of Boulder.   

"This is a joyous time for the community of Boulder, and we are honored to be a part of the team planning and designing this once-in-a-generation project in our city," said CarloMaria Ciampoli, Boulder Studio Director, RIOS. "By celebrating and uplifting the unique attributes that make Boulder funky, fun, and friendly, we see the potential to transform the Civic Area into a thriving destination of community, unity, civic pride, and inclusivity for generations to come."   

City of Boulder Selects RIOS to Transform Boulder's Civic Area

Civic Area Phase 2 Community Open House (Image: Boulder Parks and Recreation)

The Civic Area Phase 2 project will explore improved connectivity throughout the region and opportunities for the adaptive reuse of historic and city-owned facilities. This transformative initiative will create a new urban center, blocks from the iconic Pearl Street Mall. It is poised to set a precedent for thriving social hubs that integrate the urban environment with its natural surroundings. One project aspect includes the forgotten Arboretum Path, which can provide a chance to create a linear park linking the Civic Area with the University of Colorado, University Hill ("The Hill") commercial district, and a new hotel and conference center.

“This project is an opportunity for community members to envision what they see for the Civic Area’s future and think of creative possibilities for this ‘park at the core’,” said Boulder Parks and Recreation Civic Area Phase 2 project manager Shihomi Kuriyagawa.

This ambitious project marks a significant milestone in Boulder's continued growth and development. A robust community engagement process throughout the project will incorporate feedback from and the vision of the community so the space reflects the community's values. 

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About RIOS: RIOS is an award-winning international design collective actively pursuing wonder within the design of built environment. Founded in 1985, the collective practices interconnected design across architecture, interiors, landscape architecture, master planning, and placemaking for diverse projects, including residential, commercial, civic, hospitality, retail, and institutional. Known for creating bold solutions inclusive of the broader context, RIOS believes design is an act of optimism through which invention and ideas change the world. For more information visit