1301 W. 10th Avenue
Sat and Sun 10AM–4PM
Architects: Chad Holtzinger
Architectural Style: Modern
Year Built: 2014
Cost: $1 million
Housed in a 4,500-square-foot community space in Phase II, a LEED Gold building, Youth on Record is the anchor tenant for Denver Housing Authority's (DHA) La Mariposa redevelopment project. Youth on Record (YOR) is located on the corner of what might be considered “First and Main” in one of Denver's newer plazas. Youth on Record’s media studio will have a large impact as a crucial landmark in Denver’s community.
Chad Holtzinger, formerly with OZ Architecture and currently the owner and principal of Shopworks Architecture, was the lead on the Youth Media Studio project. After completing a two-month RFQ process for the design build of the nation’s only Youth Media Studio (YMS), YOR selected architects who understand the cultural and educational magnitude of the project. Creative high-end design does not usually go hand in hand with low-income housing, but Shopworks' mission is to provide great architecture to low-income people. As the principal architect, Chad enlisted his entire team at Shopworks.
Holtzinger founded Shopworks in 2012 after honing his design skills with OZ Architecture for 13 years. He first worked on a low-income residential project for seniors at 38th and Tennyson. “The main reason why I wanted to design low-income projects was that the people that are typically associated with these types of projects are amazing. Our focus is urban infill projects that have the low-income and community components to them,” said Holtzinger. For his efforts, Chad received the Rock Star Award from Youth on Record. Holtzinger is a local product himself as a graduate of Denver North High School and the University of Colorado.
Architectural and Environmental Relevance
YOR was selected for this location based on a commitment to community, cultural relevance and unique ability to reach and teach Denver’s most vulnerable youth populations. The focus is on leveraging the arts to inspire at-risk young people to re-engage in their education and graduate, while providing advanced job skills and opportunities in the creative industries. Additionally, YMS can be the cultural centerpiece setting the tone for the community with concerts, classes, and events that activate the plaza, which was a key idea in the Master Plan for the La Mariposa Redevelopment.
The design of the media studio focuses on use of authentic materials, simple detailing, and reclaimed, salvaged products to offer students the opposite of an institutional classroom. Furniture is made from salvaged floor joists, bicycle tubes, and custom steel while built-in wall alcoves are made from from birch plywood and salvaged truck flooring. The space incorporates live plants and planters so that it feels alive and changing from season to season. It's more like a lab or college studio, with a focus on student creativity and collaboration instead of traditional high school pedagogy. Natural light, warm materials and open flexible workspace are key. Overhead doors connect the flexible workspace to the courtyard, so students can enjoy the seasons in Denver, and be present in the plaza year round.
This project has several phases. The first phase is a workspace and computer lab for students to engage the important curriculum. Future phases will include operable partitions and a state of the art recording studio where students are taught how to record and produce music and work with radio stations, national acts, and local artists, creating job training and skills that will endure throughout their lives.
Denver Housing Authority
After conducting a six-year community needs assessment in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood of Denver, DHA asked YOR to bring their Youth Media Studio vision to phase II of their seven-phase project, which just won the EPA’s national award for Smart Growth. DHA’s awarded $1M to YOR, which includes the core design and construction of the Youth Media Studio and a seven-year rental waiver.
Youth on Record
Through partnership, YOR brings the local music community, public schools, the nation’s leading housing authority, and the philanthropic sector together. YOR is a powerful example of what is possible when musicians and nonprofit/public sector leaders embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and band together around a common cause. Since 2008, YOR has been bringing Colorado’s most respected and talented musicians into high schools and youth residential treatment centers where attendance rates are low, dropout rates are high, and academic performance suffers. Credited as the most utilized music provider for Denver Public Schools, YOR’s intensive, for-credit music classes and mentorships are empowering young people to graduate and develop the skills needed to enter the workforce or pursue a post-secondary education.
La Alma/Lincoln Park is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, and it lies just to the south of Auraria campus. This is where gold-seekers came when Denver was settled in the 1850s. The homes here still reflect the rich culture and beautiful attention to architectural detail from that time period.
La Alma/Lincoln Park is often referred to as the “West Side” and the community is well known for its Hispanic and Latino heritage. It is a mixed-use neighborhood at the heart of Denver. It benefits from a variety of housing types, diversity of land uses, historic resources, proximity to downtown, presence of transit, strong job base, the Santa Fe Arts District, parks, and a broad range of cultural and public facilities. The Santa Fe Arts District has played an important role in the area's transformation. Mariposa (formerly known as South Lincoln Homes) is owned and managed by Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and contains 270 public housing units on 15.1 acres. Mariposa is bike friendly, minutes from downtown and Santa Fe arts district.
Similar to the YOR opportunity are two other projects: The Osage Café, which provides a rotating menu of healthy culinary choices at an affordable price point and serves as a resource to the youth of Denver through DHA’s Youth Culinary Academy (YCA), preparing youth for a lasting career in the culinary industry; and Arts Street, a non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado developing and implementing highly diversified career-based educational programs that incorporate real-world learning, artistic expression, and creative thinking.
denverurbanreview.com; Denver Downtown Partnership; City and County of Denver Community Planning and Development; Youth on Record.