In May, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) unveiled initial concept renderings of its design for the United States Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 60,000-square-foot facility will join the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, which also call Colorado Springs home, further cementing the city as a destination for Olympic enthusiasts both foreign and domestic.
The museum will tell the stories of great American Olympians and Paralympians through a series of narrative exhibition spaces. The U.S. Olympic Committee selected DS+R as part of a national RFQ/RFP Process. “They felt like we had the aspirational quality in our design work to take on the challenge,” said DS+R Principal-in-Charge of the project, Ben Gilmartin.
With majestic Pikes Peak serving as a backdrop, the museum is sited beside historic train tracks on the edge of downtown Colorado Springs. About a 10-minute walk from the center of the city, it is in part intended to act as a catalyst for urban development. A pedestrian bridge will cross the train tracks and connect the museum to America The Beautiful Park and the residential areas beyond.
Architecturally, the design is meant to embody the ambition and drive of Olympians and Paralympians. “We don’t deal with much symbolism in our work,” said Gilmartin. “But we think about this project capturing the aspiration toward performance, if you will.” The building emerges out of the landscape, representing an athlete in repose, and culminates in a soaring atrium space with galleries positioned around it, like petals on a flower. These two parts of the building, the low and the high, bracket a plaza that welcomes visitors coming from downtown, while framing a view of the mountains beyond. Museumgoers are drawn to the top of the atrium first, and then descend down through the gallery spaces, which step down in a spiral formation. A stainless steel shingle cladding system will react to sunlight, creating a sense of movement on the facade.
DS+R is working on the project with Denver firm Anderson Mason Dale Architects and D.C.-based exhibit designers Gallagher and Associates. Pacific Studio is the exhibit fabricator and Barrie Projects of Cleveland is providing museum consultation services. The general contractor is GE Johnson of Colorado Springs. Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2016 with completion expected in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.