This one-acre linear park was a central feature of the Skyline Urban Renewal District, a revitalization plan conceived during the 1950s for downtown Denver. Halprin designed the park to provide an urban oasis at the center of the densifying city. He and his colleagues studied Colorado landforms and ecologies in order to create a park that would reflect the character of the local landscape.
The three-block design was sunken below street level and heavily planted along the edges to buffer the park from the street. The park was punctuated by three large canyon-like fountains that were inspired by the arroyos (deep water channels) in the foothills. Two of the fountains were formed from rectilinear concrete blocks mixed with local sandstone aggregate to reflect the nearby rose-tinted foothills. In the early 2000s the park was substantially altered; today, only remnants of Halprin’s design, including two fountains, survive. The park was carefully photographed and documented prior to the alterations, and is the subject of a monograph co-produced by TCLF about the unique stewardship practices affecting Modernist landscape architecture.
One of the two signature fountains is inoperable, and both should be restored and rehabilitated. Moreover, there should be a comprehensive maintenance plan with a funding source, and greater visibility for Halprin’s contribution on official city websites.
Susan Teare, AIAP
Teare photographs residential and commercial architecture and landscape design. Her work is featured in publications including the widely praised Salvage Secrets, and the follow-up Salvage Secrets Design & Décor. She is a contributor to Getty Images and the DIY Network. A Graduate of Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Art History, Teare studied under Norman McGrath at Main Media Workshops in Chicago. Her professional background includes extensive marketing and sales experience with both nonprofit and corporate clients.