Boulder’s 15th Street Design District

courtesy 15th Street Design District

Creating a Sense of Place

Fifteenth Street, you’ve come a long way baby.

The formerly uninspired sidewalks running from Canyon Boulevard to Arapahoe Avenue have given way to one of Boulder’s newest ‘places’ – the 15th Street Design District. In the process, the old streetscape has been mowed over by freshly formed, more pedestrian friendly sidewalks adorned with purple Panther paws, inspirational quotes, festive banners and shade trees.

Serendipity, timing and a sense of community are at the genesis of this enhanced connection between Boulder High School and downtown Boulder, which first emerged in 2010.

That’s when the architectural, interior, visual arts and other designers who had independently hung their signs along this street got together and collectively created the 15th Street Design District.

“Many of us had been working together as colleagues for a long time. The city of Boulder was putting together a grant for improvements so we got together and created the Design District,” said Stephanie Bingham of HMH Architecture and Interiors.

The improvements, including wider sidewalks, bike racks, new trees and irrigation systems, new LED streetlights, street poles with “15th Street Design District” banners, and trash and recycling bins, were funded by the voter-approved $49 million Capital Improvement Bond passed in 2011.

image courtesy City of Boulder

Along with the street banners, the sidewalk is pressed with quotes from notable people throughout history that were chosen by the members of the Design District.

And, since that path is traveled over the years by thousands of Boulder High School students, the plan included public art projects created by the students.

Artwork mounted on the railing that borders the Farmer’s Ditch as it passes under the streetway was created in 2013 by then-student Isaac Dolores. And student Max Boice left an indelible mark: footprints pressed in the sidewalk that morph between Canyon Boulevard to Arapahoe from shoe-wearing human prints to purple panther paws – the mascot and school color of Boulder High.

How cool is that? Very, if you’re a high school student or teacher – or parent for that matter.

April Is Architecture Month

To celebrate Architecture Month, the 15th Street Design District is sponsoring several events.

FrankLloydWrightExperiencing Wrightʼs Architecture

An evening of conversation with renowned Frank Lloyd Wright scholar, Jack Quinan

Presented by: HMH Architecture + Interiors and Jennifer Egbert Modern Luxury Real Estate

Monday, April 25
6-8:30 pm
Boulder Public Library – Canyon Theater
1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

Free, register here.


15th Street Design District Crawl

Come party at the 15th Street Design District! Attendees are welcomed to visit the 15th Street Design District companies who open their doors to guests.

  • live music
  • food carts
  • bouncy castle
  • face painting
  • prizes & giveaways
  • family friendly, zero waste event

Friday, April 29
5-8 pm
15th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe

Click here for more information.

Women in Design: Connecting Purpose and Place was presented by Mosaic Architecture and Interiors at the Boulder Public Library April 4.

Other Boulder Events for Architecture Month

Community Cultural Plan Launch

Wednesday, April 13
5:30-7:30 pm
eTown Hall
1535 Spruce Street, Boulder

Ode to a Persian Garden

Wednesday, April 13
6:00 pm
Boulder Public Library, Main Branch – Canyon Theater

We are excited to feature the district as our Featured Friend for April – a month in which we focus on design in Boulder. Watch for stories on outstanding design firms in this space all month.

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