University Hills-Schlessman Branch YMCA

Client NAVA Real Estate Development
Location Denver, CO
Project Type Master Planning
Status Concept Only

A redesigned YMCA and a series of outdoor spaces connect to become the heart of a new campus.

The YMCA Denver is a proposed multi-building campus two miles north of the Denver Tech Center and eight miles southeast of downtown Denver. The area is largely a mix of single-family residential and retail centers offering restaurants, shopping, coffee shops, and parks. The site is adjacent to the Highline Canal, one of the longest and most beautiful linear parks in the nation, spanning over 71 miles from Douglas County to Northeast Denver.

The existing University Hills-Schlessman Branch YMCA would be redesigned to be outward facing, and allow the activity inside to be easily seen and feel accessible. In addition, two new residential buildings would anchor the southern and western portions of the site, creating a campus-like feel of central open space that connects to a more extensive greenspace.

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The site is adjacent to the Highline Canal, one of the longest and most beautiful linear parks in the nation.
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The existing YMCA building.
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A new YMCA would open up to a series of pedestrian paths and terraces that interconnect with the other two residential buildings.

The YMCA is situated with prominent street visibility along Colorado Blvd, and a new building would open to to a series of connected outdoor spaces, dubbed the "YMCA Connection." These spaces place people at the center and heart of it all.

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The curving facade of the YMCA interfaces with these green spaces, actives the public space, and highlights exercise and healthy living for this new community.

The green spaces become a thread that weaves together the Highline Canal, the site, and the neighborhood fabric. It is a publicly accessible for all to use and enjoy in all seasons.

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Two-level townhouse style units create garden level patios that front onto green space.

Parking is embedded within each building, and stepped building profiles mitigate the massing to fit in with nearby homes while creating ample cascading green roof terraces.

Designed to Passive House standards, the design strategies ensure that there will be healthy indoor environments, significantly decreased energy cost for operation, sound control, and greenhouse gas emissions.