The City and County of Denver and Civic Center Conservancy are pleased to announce the selection of Studio Gang, a world-renowned architecture and urban design firm, led by Jeanne Gang, to lead the Phase 1 Implementation of Civic Center Next 100 which includes improvements to the Greek Theater and Central Promenade. Denver awarded Studio Gang a $2.8M design contract following a competitive process and evaluation of proposals submitted by shortlisted firms earlier this year; the contract received Denver City Council approval on October 30.
Located at the heart of the downtown, Civic Center has served as Denver’s most significant gathering spot for cultural events, festivals, and First Amendment rallies for over 100 years. Civic Center Next 100 is a concept plan that plans a series of improvements to elevate the park for the next 100 years with new energy for the Denver of today and the generations to come.
“From championship celebrations to holiday events and concerts, Civic Center Park has been a crown jewel for our community for many years,” Mayor Mike Johnston said, “The Civic Center Next 100 project and partnership with Studio Gang is a significant milestone that will spark new activity to downtown and prepare Civic Center Park for the next 100 years.”
Studio Gang was chosen based on their project approach, which is rooted in a community-centered process, and both respects the historic aspects of the park while bringing innovative architectural design. With a diverse portfolio that includes performing arts spaces like Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, NY, major additions to cultural institutions like the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, as well as transformative public projects like Tom Lee Park in Memphis TN, and the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL, Studio Gang brings a wealth of experience in reimagining civic and cultural spaces. Studio Gang also designed Populus, a new hotel currently under construction at 14th Street and Court Place that shows the firm’s emphasis on creating connections between people and nature with its eye-catching design informed by the pattern of Aspen trees.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the city, the conservancy, and the communities of Denver on the design for Civic Center that extends its democratic legacy and invites everyone to come together around performance,” said Jeanne Gang, founding principal and partner of Studio Gang. “It is also a perfect moment to make the park’s ecology resilient for its next 100 years of life.”
“Civic Center Park has played a significant role in Denver’s cultural history for over a century,” said Eric Lazzari, Executive Director of Civic Center Conservancy. “With Studio Gang’s visionary approach and the valuable input from our community, we can elevate this historic space, and ensure that it is a vibrant, accessible, and inclusive space for generations to come.”
The Civic Center Next 100 plan, funded in part by the voter-approved Elevate Denver Bond Program, was created with insight provided by public feedback collected through extensive community and stakeholder engagement. The Concept Design includes improvements to four key areas within the park including, the Greek Theater, Central Promenade, Central Gathering Space, and Bannock Street between Colfax Avenue and 14th Avenue.
In 2020, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) permanently closed Bannock Street to vehicle traffic and reopened the stretch to the public with the installation of a colorful street mural. Bannock Street is now being created into a vibrant public space and extension of Civic Center Park managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently named DPR as a recipient of a $2.3 million grant to support The Monuments Project and improvements to the Greek Theater and South Plaza area. DPR was also awarded $750,000 from the National Park Service to rehabilitate the Central Promenade as part of the Phase 1 Implementation of the Civic Center Next 100 project.
The Civic Center Next 100 project is supported by DPR funding, Elevate Denver Bond, grant funding and donations from the Civic Center Conservancy.