Diller Scofidio + Renfro shape the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum as a tribute to the athlete’s movements. At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Springs, the 60,000 sf building includes 20,000 sf of galleries, a state-of-the-art theater, event space and cafe.
Accessibility was a key factor from the start. The design team consulted Paralympic athletes and persons with disabilities that lead to a route of ramps that guide visitors downhill a gentle-grade. 6 feet wide ramps can accommodate side-by-side movement of two visitors including a wheelchair.
The structure consists of a steel frame superstructure anchored by cast-in-place concrete lateral cores. The architects wrapped the building in 9,000 folded anodized diamond shaped aluminum panels. Each metallic panel with a unique shape and size.
A 40 foot tall atrium orientates visitors through the museum with four balconies at different levels. Perforated GFRG (Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum) screens allow peeks from the lobby into the atrium that is illuminated by a skylight.
DS+R arranged the galleries as overlapping petals that wrap around the central atrium. Seams between these petals with clerestory lighting further orientates visitors along the route through the museum exhibitions designed by Gallagher Associates.
Alongside the plaza, placed next to the museum volume, is a strongly landscaped slightly separated building with the theater and event space. The 2,000 sf theater can host an audience of 130 and two rows of removable seats make room for 26 wheelchairs. The event space features panoramic views of the Rocky mountains.