COOPERMADE: An Eco-Friendly Community Park

Rendezvous Park

Photo by GYDE Architects

In 2015, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, renowned for its stunning landscapes, became home to a new private-public venture, Rendezvous Park. Developed on a former gravel pit, the park, also known as R Park, came about thanks to the Jackson Hole (WY) Land Trust, which purchased the 40-acre site to restore its natural ecosystems of meadows and wetlands adjacent to the Snake River.  

Peggy Gilday AR’84 and her architecture firm GYDE designed the park’s masterplan, which includes acres of native flora, a grove of cottonwood trees, and access to a pedestrian bridge over the Snake River. What it doesn’t have is a playground or exercise equipment – Gilday's hope was to allow residents to participate in nature with no intermediaries. The chances for those interactions are myriad: the park has trails for walking and biking, boat launches, and areas for swimming, kayaking, and fishing.  

Gilday also designed a set of essential buildings for the park including a visitors’ center, restrooms, an office with caretaker housing, and a picnic pavilion. In a city where land costs are at a premium, this public park on private land—fashioned from a site that needed years of remediation—is a notable amenity and a win for the local environment.  

Gilday, who moved to the area in 1995 after working for both Davis Brody Bond and esteemed Cooper graduate Toshiko Mori AR’76, has produced a body of work that shows her passion for Wyoming’s landscape. She’s designed numerous stunning residential and commercial spaces and frequently dedicates her design work to projects serving the area community. Besides R Park, she designed the Teton County Library and three subdivisions of affordable housing. And perhaps not surprisingly, she has joined the Jackson Hole Land Trust in a host of roles, now working on designing housing solutions for the Trust’s staff to ensure its continued success. 


give now
  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.