The 60,000-square-foot-design of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum (USOPM) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro features 20,000 sf of galleries, a state-of-the-art theater, event spaces, and a café. Inspired by the energy and grace of the Team USA athletes and the organization’s inclusive values, the building’s dynamic spiraling form allows visitors to descend the galleries in one continuous path. This main organizational structure enables the museum to rank amongst the most accessible museums in the world, ensuring that visitors with and without disabilities can smoothly share the same common experience.
Ph. Jason O’Rear
A terraced hardscape plaza is at the heart of the museum complex, cradled by the museum building to the South and the café to the North. The plaza frames a postcard view of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains beyond. With integrated amphitheater seating for 230 people, the plaza is able to host outdoor events throughout the seasons, from the winter games to the summer games.
Level 1 Lobby Atrium
A skylight illuminates the 40-foot-tall atrium, while perforated GFRG (Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum) screens provide views from the lobby. Four balconies at varying heights overlooking the atrium re-orient visitors to this central space as they move through the galleries.
Level 1, 2, 3 Galleries
Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed 20,000 sq ft of gallery space as overlapping petals that wrap around the central atrium. Clerestory lighting at the seams between these petals provides soft daylight emanating from the central atrium space, terminating at vertical windows at the building’s perimeter. This lighting strategy doubles as wayfinding, orienting visitors back to the atrium, and situating them along a trajectory that moves through the galleries that feature immersive interactive exhibitions designed by Gallagher Associates.
Level 1 Theater
The 2,000 sq ft theater can host a 130-person audience. Two rows of seats are removable to accommodate a max of 26 wheelchairs, enabling the potential for a full Paralympic hockey team to sit together.
Level 2 Event Space
The 1,300 sq ft event space features a panoramic view spanning from downtown Colorado Springs to the Rocky Mountains. Space can also open up to an adjoining 500 sq ft outdoor terrace. Café and Education Room: A 2,800 sq ft cafe with an additional 400 sq ft outdoor dining area is equipped to host a full-service restaurant as well as educational programs, providing a flexible meeting space across the plaza from the primary museum building. The café’s landscaped roof samples native plantings that express the change in seasons.
Level 3 Board Room
The 800 sq ft multi-functional board room features an adjacent 470 sq ft outdoor terrace and a 26 ft floor-to-ceiling window framing a view of the Rocky Mountains. Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge: The DS+R design team also designed a new pedestrian bridge spanning 250 ft over an active railyard to connect the museum complex to America the Beautiful Park. The bridge extends an existing bike network, connecting downtown to the Midland Trail.
From the earliest stages of design, the team consulted a committee of Paralympic athletes and persons with disabilities to ensure that, from the entrance to exit, all visitors with or without disabilities could tour the USOPM facility together and share a common path. After they have been oriented, all visitors ascend to the top floor by elevator. Ramps guide visitors down a gentle-grade downhill circulation path that enables easier movement. Ramps have been widened to 6 feet to accommodate the side-by-side movement of two visitors including a wheelchair. Beyond ensuring all code and ADA requirements were rigorously met, material details including glass guardrails in the atrium for low-height visibility, cane guards integrated into benches, smooth floors for easier wheelchair movement, and loose seating in the café optimize the shared experience.
Ph. Jason O’Rear
DATE: 2014-2020 / LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Colorado, Unites States / AREA: 60.000 sf (built) / PROGRAM: / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Diller Scofidio + Renfro / PARTNERS: Benjamin Gilmartin, Elizabeth Diller, Charles Renfro and Ricardo Scofidio / PROJECT ARCHITECT: Holly Deichmann Chacon / PROJECT ARCHITECT, CONCEPT DESIGN: Sean Gallagher / PROJECT DESIGNER: Yushiro Okamoto / TEAM: Merica May Jensen, Ryan Botts, Charles Curran, Imani Day, Roberto Mancinelli, Anthony Saby, Rasmus Tobiasen, Ning Hiransaroj, Andreas Kostopoulos, Dino Kiratzidis, Emily Vo Nguyen, Jack Solomon, Valeri Limansubroto / EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT: Anderson Mason Dale / EXHIBITION DESIGNERS: Gallagher & Associates / CONSULTANTS: KL&A INC. with ARUP (Structural Engineers), ARUP (Acoustics, Audiovisual & Theater), The Ballard Group (Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer), ME Engineers (Electrical Engineer), Tillotson Design Associates (Lighting Consultant), Nes Colorado in collaboration with Hargraeves Associates (landscape architects), Jensen Hughes (Fire Protection), KIOWA (Civil Engineering), Dharam Consulting (costs) / CONSTRUCTION MANAGER AND GENERAL CONTRACTOR: GE Johnson / PHOTOS: Jason O’Rear / MORE INFO: https://dsrny.com/project/us-olympic-museum