PROJECT FACT SHEET
Lowry Northwest Neighborhood
Purpose of Project
On September 30, 1994, Denver’s largest military base was closed after serving 57 years as a training facility for the Air
Force. That same day, a quasi-governmental agency was formed to implement the reuse plan that had been established. The
plan, encompassing 1,866 acres, proposed a diverse mixed-use community where people can live, work, learn and play. It is
complete with a town center, schools, churches, library, a wide variety of housing types, and recreational amenities.
The project site (hereinafter “project”) is located in the northwest quadrant of the redevelopment plan and was established as
residential district in the master plan. The goals for the project included echoing the character of nearby, older Denver
neighborhoods, providing a pedestrian-friendly environment, offering a variety of parks for people with varying interests,
extending a wide range of housing types, and creating a sense of neighborhood identity.
An area of 220 acres, the project contains single-family homes, townhomes, patio homes, senior housing, apartments,
affordable housing, and transitional housing created by adaptive reuse plans (both the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
and the Empowerment Program, a women’s shelter were implemented in this manner). There are six parks being developed
within the district – two pocket parks containing play equipment for a range of ages of children, a neighborhood park in the
center of the district, a sustainable native flower garden, an active open field park, and a Reading Garden. Additionally, a
recreation center is located within the district to serve the entire community.
Role of Landscape Architect
The role of the submitter included revising the original master plan and providing design for implementation strategies to
better achieve urban and social goals. Key revisions included reorienting and scaling down the north-south parkways through
the project to promote pedestrian traffic to the town center and existing neighborhoods, establishing block sizes more
compatible with the existing neighboring conditions, and the promotion of a greater mix of residential unit types. As the plan
is being implemented, the submitter has been leading the site-specific design for the streetscape elements and public spaces.
Special Factors and Significance
The submitter did not create the original master plan for the base redevelopment, but was asked by the redevelopment
authority to revise the plan. In doing so, the submitter made changes that strengthened the plan. The revisions to the plan
provided more opportunity for housing diversity, pedestrian linkages, and variation in park design. Since the revisions to the
master plan, the submitter has worked closely with the redevelopment authority to enhance the project by designing the
streets and public spaces.
Creating strong linkages between the project and the existing neighborhoods was one of the primary design concepts. The
idea was to promote interaction between the existing neighborhoods and the redevelopment project by providing multiple
connections. The revision of the street and block orientations along 11th Avenue from the original master plan created more
connections into the project from the existing neighborhood. In turn, this helps to support transit-oriented behavior since it
opens up more opportunities for pedestrian movements to 11th Avenue, one of two main transit corridors serving the project.
Promoting pedestrian activity was another key concept that the revision to the master plan enhanced. By reorienting the
hierarchy of the street system in a predominantly north-south direction, the connection from the project to the town center
was established thus fostering pedestrian movements. The reorientation of the street network now encourages pedestrian
access to schools, the town center, additional recreation facilities, and the business center.
The project is home to a diverse range of housing types and price points. Within the project area, several of the existing Air
Force buildings have been readapted into mixed-income housing, including that for the formerly homeless. The Colorado
Coalition for the Homeless has readapted 92 units and the Empowerment Project, a women’s shelter, has readapted another
17 units. There are a total of 528 single-family, 222 townhouse, 52 patio-homes, and 261 apartment units in the project area.
The submitter has held the lead role in defining the streetscape within the project area. Residential buildings were placed
closer to the curb to create narrower, pedestrian-friendly streets. Each residential product type has been evaluated and
recommendations made to promote sidewalk and street activity.
To reinforce the edge of the project, the submitter designed identity pieces that reflect the spirit of the community and help to
maintain a sense of place and history. Along 11th Avenue, a series of simple brick panels at key intersections were designed
to augment other entries to the redevelopment. Evergreen and street tree plantings were added to create a clear but simple
identity on the project’s northern edge. At the intersection of 11th and Quebec, one of the main corners of the redevelopment,
a simple yet distinctive masonry monument was designed to provide identity and capture a historical point of reference.
Matching masonry fences are staggered at points along Quebec Street narrating to visitors the historic boundary of the former
The public spaces within the project have been designed by the submitter to provide a diverse network for the residents. The
emphasis in this design and planning work is to promote residents and visitors to be outdoors and moving as pedestrians
throughout the neighborhood. The principles for the parks are: 1. Diversity: Provide a wide variety of park types within the
community; 2. Destinations: Provide destinations within the community where people can come together; 3. Movement:
Provide pedestrian systems that link destinations; 4. Scale: Create appropriately scaled destinations; and 5. Balance: Provide
a balance of park types, i.e. intellectual as well as physical offerings.
After the streets were realigned, the sites for the two pocket parks were revised to provide more centralized locations, thus
encouraging pedestrian activity and interaction between neighbors. They were taken off of the parkway system and placed on
local streets that provide safer, quieter places for children to play. The primary function of these two parks is to use children’s
playgrounds to promote adult interaction.
The shift in the street pattern also created an opportunity for an additional park of approximately .5 acres. This park has been
designed as a destination garden full of native plant materials offering a peaceful setting for passive use by the adjacent
neighbors and others.
Another change to the original master plan was the elimination of a street intersection. This provided an opportunity for a
dedicated pedestrian system and for another park of a passive nature. This park, known as the Reading Garden, was designed
to provide individual and group gathering areas for school children, parents, or anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors and
literature simultaneously. The Reading Garden is augmented by pieces of art and provocative quotations that stimulate
visitors to think and talk.
At a point on the southern boundary of the project where the residential edge meets the influence of commercial activities, a
fire easement has been adapted as a pedestrian way and plaza for office workers. Again, the design is to prompt the
population of employees to move outdoors and to engage other residents.
The neighborhood park, at almost 8 acres, is the centerpiece of the project. It provides open lawn for play, pavilions for
congregation, and a high mound for contemplation. The design integrated site planning of the adjacent semi-custom homes,
elevating them to allow views into the park. The history of the landscape is borne in the distinctive forms sculpted into the
park. The elevated mountain form offers views of real mountains to the West while the opposite end of the park promotes
gathering and family activities.
In all, the principles of creating strong pedestrian linkages, providing a diverse range of housing types, public spaces and
parks, have been the cornerstone to this project. The relationship of community to its physical environment has been
scrutinized at every phase of the development. The underlying principle in designing open spaces parks and plazas is that this
community celebrates contemporary urban thinking by promoting walking and the use of public space.
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