flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Aurora, Colo., recreation center features city’s first indoor field house, unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains

Sports and Recreational Facilities

Aurora, Colo., recreation center features city’s first indoor field house, unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains

The $41.9 million, 77,000-sf Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse aims to mimic the geography of a canyon.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | March 17, 2023
Aurora, Colo., recreation center features city’s first indoor field house, unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains
All photos: Conor Culver, courtesy Populous

In January, design firm Populous and the City of Aurora, Colo. marked the opening of the Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse. The 77,000-sf facility draws design inspiration from the nearby Rocky Mountains.

With natural Douglas Fir structure and decking, the building aims to mimic the geography of a canyon. The large open entryway spans the length of the building and offers expansive mountain views through a glass curtainwall. The glass walls also provide light and visibility into various areas such as the basketball courts.

Populous designed the facility, including the city’s first indoor field house, to respect the site while also meeting the project requirements of operational efficiency, cost-effective design, and the community’s betterment.

“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,” Gudmundur Jonsson, senior architect and principal at Populous, said in a statement. “The City of Aurora now has another cost-effective and operationally efficient space that will allow it to further serve its community.”

An elevated running track extends from inside the gym out into the entryway and along the curtainwall, evoking a mountain trail. The fitness area includes a 3,000-sf patio and a garage door opening to outdoor training areas. In addition to the gym, track, and other outdoor fitness areas, the recreation center includes community spaces, volleyball courts, pickleball courts, pools, and a 20-foot-tall waterslide that runs 152 feet long.

The $41.9 million project is the second ground-up recreation center constructed for Aurora in over four decades. Populous also led the design of Aurora’s Central Recreation Center.

On the Building Team:
Owner: City of Aurora Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Department
Design architect and architect of record: Populous
MEP engineers: The Ballard Group, Innovative Electrical Systems
Structural engineer: Martin Martin
General contractor/construction manager: Saunders Construction

Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse by Populous Photo by Conor Culver

Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse by Populous Photo by Conor Culver

Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse by Populous Photo by Conor Culver

Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse by Populous Photo by Conor Culver

Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse by Populous Photo by Conor Culver

Related Stories

Mixed-Use | Apr 9, 2024

A surging master-planned community in Utah gets its own entertainment district

Since its construction began two decades ago, Daybreak, the 4,100-acre master-planned community in South Jordan, Utah, has been a catalyst and model for regional growth. The latest addition is a 200-acre mixed-use entertainment district that will serve as a walkable and bikeable neighborhood within the community, anchored by a minor-league baseball park and a cinema/entertainment complex.

Cultural Facilities | Apr 8, 2024

Multipurpose sports facility will be first completed building at Obama Presidential Center

When it opens in late 2025, the Home Court will be the first completed space on the Obama Presidential Center campus in Chicago. Located on the southwest corner of the 19.3-acre Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, the Home Court will be the largest gathering space on the campus. Renderings recently have been released of the 45,000-sf multipurpose sports facility and events space designed by Moody Nolan.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Apr 2, 2024

How university rec centers are evolving to support wellbeing

In a LinkedIn Live, Recreation & Wellbeing’s Sadat Khan and Abby Diehl joined HOK architect Emily Ostertag to discuss the growing trend to design and program rec centers to support mental wellbeing and holistic health.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Mar 14, 2024

First-of-its-kind sports and rehabilitation clinic combines training gym and healing spa

Parker Performance Institute in Frisco, Texas, is billed as a first-of-its-kind sports and rehabilitation clinic where students, specialized clinicians, and chiropractic professionals apply neuroscience to physical rehabilitation. 

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Mar 7, 2024

Bjarke Ingels’ design for the Oakland A’s new Las Vegas ballpark resembles ‘a spherical armadillo’

Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in collaboration with HNTB, the new ballpark for the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team will be located on the Las Vegas Strip and offer panoramic views of the city skyline. The 33,000-capacity covered, climate-controlled stadium will sit on nine acres on Las Vegas Boulevard. 

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Feb 19, 2024

Sports stadium developers sweeten projects with affordable housing to gain support

In recent years, sports stadium developers have been including affordable housing in their projects to win support from local governments and community activists.

Mixed-Use | Jan 26, 2024

Entertainment districts are no longer just about sports, dining, and music

Diversity of experiences is what makes entertainment districts tick these days. That’s one reason why offices continue to be included in district proposals. And in their efforts to emerge as year-round destinations, more districts are either including residential in their proposals or supporting existing districts with housing.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Dec 15, 2023

San Antonio Spurs’ new practice facility aims to help players win championships and maintain well-being

Designed by ZGF, the Victory Capital Performance Center uses biophilic design to promote better health and wellness on and off the court.

Giants 400 | Oct 17, 2023

Top 70 Sports Facility Construction Firms for 2023

AECOM, Turner Construction, Clark Group, Mortenson head BD+C's ranking of the nation's largest sports facility contractors and construction management (CM) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Oct 17, 2023

Top 130 Sports Facility Architecture Firms for 2023

Populous, Gensler, HOK, and HKS head BD+C's ranking of the nation's largest sports facility architecture and architecture/engineering (AE) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

Mixed-Use

A surging master-planned community in Utah gets its own entertainment district

Since its construction began two decades ago, Daybreak, the 4,100-acre master-planned community in South Jordan, Utah, has been a catalyst and model for regional growth. The latest addition is a 200-acre mixed-use entertainment district that will serve as a walkable and bikeable neighborhood within the community, anchored by a minor-league baseball park and a cinema/entertainment complex.


Cultural Facilities

Multipurpose sports facility will be first completed building at Obama Presidential Center

When it opens in late 2025, the Home Court will be the first completed space on the Obama Presidential Center campus in Chicago. Located on the southwest corner of the 19.3-acre Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, the Home Court will be the largest gathering space on the campus. Renderings recently have been released of the 45,000-sf multipurpose sports facility and events space designed by Moody Nolan.



halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021