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Rendering of people swimming with floating devices
Des Moines Rowing Club: Boat storage with inclusive accessibility.

The Athene North Shore Recreation Area at Easter Lake

Located in Des Moines, IA

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Polk County Conservation sought to create a park where people of all ages and abilities could enjoy nature.

Their bold vision of developing the most universally designed, diverse, and equitable outdoor recreational space possible, made apparent that existing resources for universal design were not practical for real-world, professional applications.

Shive-Hattery led an interdisciplinary team of landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, an occupational therapist, and a universal design consultant to reimagine beach and lake access for an experience that welcomes all by offering adaptive recreation opportunities.The project team developed a process-driven checklist to serve as a guidepost for other architects and designers. The tool led all stakeholders to consider design and programming decisions through a lens of accessibility and universality. 

Planned amenities include: zero-entry lake access, widened circulation paths, restrooms outfitted with adult changing tables, dedicated respite rooms for those with sensory sensitivities, diversified play features, and comprehensive programming.

Easter Lake’s Athene North Shore Recreation area will set the bar for how public spaces are conceived in Polk County and beyond.


2023 Culture Story of the Year – Des Moines Business Record

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