Centennial Park

Colorado’s newest incorporated city is Centennial. Located in the southern portion of the Denver Metropolitan area, Centennial stretches from the Platte River Valley on the west to the eastern plains. Centennial is so new that it lacks much of the imagery and activities that most towns grow up with. One great start being planned by Centennial is the new Civic Center Park and Town Plaza. Located on the central spine road of Arapahoe Avenue and at almost the geographical center of the city, the Park will provide a highly visible place that defines the look of Centennial. The theme of “One hundred years of settlement, ten thousand years of habitation” talks about the history of habitation from the Clovis people, to the cattle people, to the jet set of today. The design and materials used in the park keeps this theme apparent throughout the space.  As well, this park includes a diversity of uses from an outdoor coffeehouse to climbing walls and multigenerational play.  In this town, having a place that is accessible and inviting to meet your friends and neighbors will be a great new asset. The park also includes a creek, a regional trailhead, diverse topography, a plaza for events, a large amphitheater, and a huge variety of play. The architecture includes a shelter overlook, a large venue group shelter, sledding, restrooms, climbing, and a looped linear arboretum. There is a lot of activity packed into this eleven acres!  That is exactly the point of a civic space.  This gives people a chance to rub shoulders with other people in a very active way, or to read on the side of the mesa that dominates the park.  A new generation of public spaces, well exemplified by this park, focuses on getting people outside, getting them together, and creating education and activity that is meaningful and healthy.  That is how the people of Centennial define themselves.

Please enjoy this video of a computer model we did for the park. 

-Axel Bishop

Whimsy and Adaptability in Spokane Valley's New Park

Discovery Playground, a new park in Spokane Valley, Washington incorporates numerous whimsical and imaginative elements.  Working with Beechwood Metalworks and Playtime Creations, we incorporated sculptures of life-size and oversized animals, fish, and flowers among the play and learning activities.

The park's Secret Garden with Objects of Unusual Size incorporates giant flowers designed and created by Casey Lewis of Beechwood Metalworks, Inc. (pictured at above), a pumpkin large enough to stand in (pictured below), and a chair twice normal size.  The garden is entered by crouching through a small gateway that then reveals the giant objects inside.

The playground has been designed to accommodate children and adults of all abilities, and provide engaging and entertaining play as well as socialization and rehabilitation therapy opportunities.  The bear den (shown above) provides a great resting place for those who may need quiet time.  Additional elements such as interactive musical instrument coves, water play, climbing wall, colorful surfacing, sensory gardens and more are incorporated into the region’s first destination playground.

This project presented new challenges for all of those involved (the geology of Eastern Washington was new for us, and none of the local contractors had worked on a project as fanciful as this).  With the enthusiasm of the community, contractors and the City, everyone is sharing in the vision of the project.  We look forward to its completion in late November!

--Carol Henry

Smart Irrigation

Irrigation is one of the many facets of a project's design rendered in-house at Design Concepts. While many firms contract out the irrigation systems required for landscape design we feel it is as crucial a component as any and prefer to include it in the overall scope of a project .
In our efforts to promote water and energy conservation in irrigation design we have recently
been encouraging clients to utilize the advanced irrigation technology now available. Irrigation plans that employ central control systems use smart controllers to communicate either with area or on-site weather stations to determine watering timing and need (pictured left: the on-site station at Denver Botanic Gardens). Smart controllers adjusts for heat, rain, freezing conditions, and more. This helps to ensure that watering is
happening only when needed and thus conserves one of the most valuable resources in Colorado (pictured below: smart system rotary nozzles). Central control systems also promote healthier landscape because water needs are so precisely met. These systems are accessible remotely, allowing projects with few maintenance staff to run effective and conservative irrigation without needing to employ or educate a large number of people—saving money, water, and man-hours.
As these green smart systems are used in public spaces an opportunity for public education is created. DC is exploring including interpretive signage explaining weather station and other system components at sites were these types of irrigation systems are in place as well as interactive websites linked to the smart systems in place in the area.
Smart irrigation means water conservation, a cause DC is eager to promote in both project design and public education throughout the design process.
We also talked a little more about this stuff in a previous post.

Interpretive Signage at Centennial Park

Rifle’s Centennial Park, one of the projects Design Concepts is currently working on, presents new opportunities for creativity. One of the unique aspects is the wayside locations that are positioned throughout this riverside park. The community of Rifle’s (with specific input from the Historical Society and the Downtown Districts) wanted a passive park that people could move through and enjoy. Because it is along a river the park moves in a linear way that gave birth to the idea of the park’s features moving through time. Working under the park’s title—which had been chosen when the community initially decided a park would be built in conjunction with the celebration of its centennial—DC came up with the idea of incorporating both the town’s 100 year history as well as that century’s global history into several aspects of the park.

Each wayside is unique so that interest is maintained throughout the park and repetition is minimized. The park is comprised of 10 waysides, one for every decade the city has experienced. In each, different styles of interpretive signage convey information about the decade represented (see photo). The first decade, 1905-1915, conveys the town’s rich history with oil. The area is shaped like an oil Derek to represent the town’s oil industry with signage showing the cityscape in silhouette. The signs are artfully done and are meant to inspire multi-generational interest along with seating and other aspects unique to each wayside.

Read more about Centennial Park’s unique features on our website.

Utah Park

Kurt from our office was just up in Crested Butte accepting an Honor Award at the CASFM conference. It was indeed an honor for us to win this award, and we look forward to working with this group of people more in the future.
We thought this would be a good opportunity to share a video for the park we've been working on with Cameron at Colorado Photo. The final product is ready and we love it. You can catch the video here.

The park also appears in the book Colorado Urbanizing, "The premier guide to Urbanism in Colorado."

This was an exceptional project for us to work on, and we're so excited about the attention it's getting.