The US Olympic andParalympic Museum is a tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements withTeam USA athletes at the centre of the experience. The 60,000 square footmuseum is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, homeof the United States Olympic Training Centre. The museum will act as an anchorthe new City for Champions District, forming a new axis bridging downtownColorado Springs to America the Beautiful Park to the west.
The 60,000 sf buildingfeatures 20,000 sf of galleries, a state-of-the-art theatre, event space andcafe. Inspired by the energy and grace of the Team USA athletes and theorganization's inclusive values, the building’s dynamic spiralling form allowsvisitors to descend the galleries in one continuous path. This mainorganization structure enables the museum to rank amongst the most accessiblemuseums in the world, ensuring visitors with and without disabilities cansmoothly share the same common experience.
A terraced hardscapeplaza is at the heart of the museum complex, cradled by the museum building tothe south and the cafe to the north. The plaza frames a postcard view of PikesPeak and the Rocky Mountains beyond. With integrated amphitheatre seating, theplaza is able to host outdoor events throughout the seasons, from the wintergames through the summer games.
The fa?ade consists ofover 9,000 folded anodized diamond-shaped aluminium panels, each unique inshape and size. The taut skin wraps four overlapping petal-like volumes thatspiral around the internal structure. Each metallic panel is animated by theextraordinary light quality in Colorado Springs, producing gradients of colourand shade that give the building another sense of motion and dynamism.
From the earlieststages of design, the team consulted a committee of Paralympic athletes andpersons with disabilities to ensure that, from the entrance to exit, allvisitors with or without disabilities could tour the USOPM facility togetherand share a common path. After they have been oriented, all visitors ascend tothe top floor by elevator. Ramps guide visitors down a gentle-grade downhillcirculation path that enables easier movement.
Ramps have been widenedto 6 feet to accommodate the side-by-side movement of two visitors including awheelchair. Beyond ensuring all code and ADA requirements were rigorously met,material details including glass guardrails in the atrium for low-heightvisibility, cane guards integrated into benches, smooth floors for easierwheelchair movement, and lose seating in the caf optimize the sharedexperience.
A new pedestrianbridge, which crosses railroad tracks, connects downtown Colorado Springs toAmerica the Beautiful Park, as well as the existing trail system. The stressed skin structure simultaneously acts like an archand a truss. The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of materialand geometry.