Our project centers on the design of a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in an existing neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, the River North Art District (RiNo), which spans both a major rail line and the South Platter River. This neighborhood, originally known as “Ironton”, was home to immigrants who worked at nearby smelters and manufacturing shops along the rail. The rail-lines, which pass through the middle of our site and currently cut off connection, present a major design challenge. Instead of seeing this as an unpleasant obstacle, we are embracing it as an opportunity to celebrate the history and culture of the neighborhood. Our urban design solutions will focus on permeability, strengthening connections, retaining historical character, and utilizing existing site condition and resources.
To increase permeability, we will raise the heavy rail-line on a bridge that spans a new urban plaza located at the transportation hub. This will facilitate the re-establishment of a city grid which will strengthen connections between the TOD, adjacent neighborhoods, and the river. Many of the historical buildings that give the neighborhood its unique character have been re-adapted into artist’s lofts and workshops. To maintain a sense of place while encouraging growth, we intend to preserve relevant historic structures and celebrate the existing artisan community. New development will utilize cutting-edge passive and technical site and building strategies contextually tailored to reduce energy and water consumption to “net zero”. The overall site plan will integrate sustainable strategies to address drainage, microclimate design and energy creation. A variety of building densities, uses and types connected by a pedestrian-oriented street network will inspire a diversity of users, all leading to a rich and deeply rooted, vibrant neighborhood that will thrive for many years to come.
Team Members: Mary Dimmick, Jennifer Hendrick and Brandy von Kaenel