Carla Madison Recreation Center

The first urban community recreation center in Colorado.

The Carla Madison Recreation Center is located at the corner of Colfax and Josephine in central Denver. This unique location provides an opportunity to connect to and extend City Park into the urban environment along Colfax Avenue, the longest continuous street in the nation. The City Park Esplanade which extends south from City Park along the eastern portion of the Recreation Center’s site provides opportunities to restore the historic connections to East High School and the historic Esplanade. This pivotal location also provides an opportunity to strengthen connections between the renewed energy of a quickly redeveloping Colfax and the adjacent historic residential neighborhoods to the north and the south.

This facility provides greatly needed recreation opportunities to a currently underserved population in the surrounding areas. The five-level, LEED Gold certified facility includes a leisure pool, 8-lane lap pool, gymnasium, fitness areas, community gathering spaces, classrooms and outdoor amenities. The site is designed to create a new venue for community gathering.

These key elements make this project unique:

  • First urban, multi-level community recreation center in Colorado
  • Small urban site focused on pedestrian connections to Colfax, East High School, Neighborhoods and visual connections to Denver and the Front Range
  • 5-level solution
  • Connection to the outdoors with large glass openings framing views to the exterior, an outdoor climbing wall accessible from the mezzanine, rooftop activity area and glazed garage doors in upper level fitness rooms
  • Maximized site amenities with harvest tables, dog playground, bouldering wall, b-cycle station, table tennis and future retail
  • Rain gardens to filter runoff from parking and building
  • Public Art as part of building façade
  • Rooftop event space with views to civic center plaza, downtown and the front range beyond

Project at a Glance


Denver, Colorado


City of Denver


$44 Million


62,000 sf


January, 2018

LEED Status



2018 – Best Projects | Merit Award, Sports/Entertainment ENR Mountain States

2018 – Best Fitness Studio/Gym – 5280 Magazine

2018 – Best Recreation Center - Westword

2019– Top 5 Cycle Studio -  5280 Magazine

2019 – Best Swimming Pool – Westword

2020 – Best Recreation Center – Westword

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