Architects: Dig Studio
- Area: 48562 m²
- Year: 2020
Photographs:David Patterson, Paul Wedake, Vienna Vitek
Manufacturers: AutoDesk, ACT 3D, Adobe Systems Incorporated, BERLINER, Dynamo, Elgin Butler, KOMPAN, Keystone Hardscapes, Landscape Structures, Miracle Rec, Playtime, ProPlaygrounds, Robert McNeel & Associates, SYNLawn, Trimble Navigation, id Metalco
Lead Architects: Laurel Raines, ASLA, PLA
Architect of Record: Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture
- Landscape Architect And Project Lead: Dig Studio, Inc
- Design Architect: Port Urbanism
- Clients: City & County of Denver Park & Recreation
- Engineering: Civil – Martin / Martin Consulting Engineers
- Landscape: Dig Studio, Inc – Landscape architect and design lead
- Consultants: KL&A - Structural, MEC – Plumbing and Mechanical, Front Range Engineering – Electrical, Pinyon Environments – Environmental Engieer
- Custom Play Manufacturer: Landscape Structures Inc.
- Contractor: PCL Construction
- City: Denver
- Country: United States
Text description provided by the architects. Intergenerational play is the focus at Paco Sanchez Park, with the goal of improving physical, mental, and societal health. This is manifested through accessibility, inclusivity, different levels of physical challenge, and spaces to support community gatherings and events.
Community input identified the desire to honor the park’s namesake, Paco Sanchez. Sanchez launched the first Spanish language radio station in Denver in 1954, going on to become a beloved civic leader and State Representative. His love of music and connection to the community as a DJ inspired the design team to identify broadcasting as the primary theme. The spirit of the park promotes the rich Hispanic legacy of the community through the use of color and form. Public art and one-of-a-kind play elements provide Paco Sanchez Park a strong sense of place.
Inspired by the city’s original competition, Re-Imagine Play, Paco Sanchez Park at long last realizes the Play Loop concept originally proposed for City Park. The redesign organizes a series of play pods along a continuous zig-zag loop path to provide ADA access from the top plateau down the slope to a flat expanse 45 feet below. Launching from the highest point on the site, a play bridge leads to the iconic Microphone play tower accentuating the top of the play loop. The loop’s zig-zag paths and play pods flank a Music Bowl and Record Stage. The bottom of the loop is anchored by the Plaza and Recreation Building and spaces for various recreation activities including playfields, basketball, and skateboarding.
Play Loop: By applying the original ‘Loop’ concept the park’s relatively unused sloped lawns are transformed into a dynamic interactive environment. The steep slopes required an innovative design solution resulting in a continuous ADA accessible zig-zagging trail, which frames a series of “paddle-shaped” typically mounded Play Pods along the way. Looking up or down the hill, visitors are visually drawn and invited to explore from pod to pod, while promoting healthy movement and interactivity.
Broadcasting and Music: Paco’s love and passion for music are celebrated throughout the park, with multiple play features that help tell the story, including the Mic Tower, Gramophone Slide, Frequency Climber, and a musical bridge at the top of the play loop. The design takes advantage of the park’s natural terrain to create a sloped lawn amphitheater, the Music Bowl, at its center. At the base of the slope, the Record Stage engraved with Paco’s radio station name and its founding year enables programming such as outdoor movies and concerts during summer months. Surrounding the Bowl, a series of play pods provide a unique experience for kids to play while their families enjoy performances.