Rocky Mountain location inspires design for new recreation centre

1 February 2023
Credit: The City of Aurora
  • The City of Aurora
  • Populous
  • Populous
  • Populous
  • Populous
  • Populous
  • Populous

Aurora, CO

United States

Populous celebrate opening of sports facilities & field house in Aurora, Colorado

Tenderstream member Populous and the City of Aurora, Colorado are celebrating the opening of a new 77,000 sq ft recreation centre and field house, with a design that draws inspiration from the dynamic landscape, views and topography of its mountain-adjacent location. Populous were faced with a design challenge to respect and celebrate the centre’s surroundings, while also fulfilling the necessary requirements of operational efficiency and cost-effective design in a mission to provide quality community facilities. 

Using resources such as natural Douglas Fir structure and decking, the building mimics the geography of a canyon. A large open entryway spans the length of the building, drawing in visitors and providing them with expansive, unobstructed views through a glass curtainwall towards the Rocky Mountains. ‘Florescence’, a public art piece by Adam Buente of Project One Studio, extends from the entrance to the far curtainwall, combining community impressions of Aurora with the architecture of the space.

An elevated running track extends from inside the gym out into the canyon entryway and along the curtainwall, incorporating changes in elevation throughout the loop. The path symbolizes a journey through the terrain, while providing a unique exercise experience. The fitness area includes a patio and garage door opening to outdoor training areas, creating a further link to the landscape. In addition to the gym, track and other outdoor fitness areas, centre features the city’s first indoor field house, pools, community spaces, various indoor exercise areas and lounges.

The project is the second ground-up recreation centre constructed in over 40 years for the city — Populous also led the design of Aurora’s Central Recreation Centre, which was awarded the Engineering News-Record Best of the Best Sports/Entertainment project in 2019. “This new recreation center and field house stands apart as a breathtaking example of a community asset that is built to reflect, benefit and showcase its people and its landscape,” said Gudmundur Jonsson, senior architect and principal at Populous, about the latest project. “The City of Aurora now has another cost-effective and operationally-efficient space that will allow it to further serve its community.”

Lucy Nordberg

Tenderstream Head of Research

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