United States Olympic + Paralympic Museum
A built manifestation and celebration of the stories and accomplishments of American Olympians and Paralympians.
Colorado Springs, CO
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
United States Olympic Museum
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, home of the United States Olympic Training Center, the 60,000sf interpretive museum tells the inspirational stories of American Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the traditions of the global Olympic Movement through a continuous sequence of universally-accessible, media-rich galleries, a state-of-the-art theater, event spaces, and a café.
Inspired by the movement of athletes, the museum idealizes a sense of motion in the organization of its galleries, auditorium, and public areas across the site. Expressed in two parts of one body in counterpoise, the building frames a new downtown public plaza and a dramatic view of Pike’s Peak, extending a new axis to the America the Beautiful Park west. The primary southern building dramatically spirals outward from its central atrium. Its outer skin shimmers in changing daylight as the building emerges from its seasonally shifting landscape.
Outside, the landscape around the plaza gently tips upward toward the site’s western edge, anchoring the buildings and creating three accessible pathways up to the pedestrian bridge. The Plaza provides a terraced hardscape which host events throughout the seasons- outdoor film screenings, performances, ice skating and beach volleyball. The northern site is densely planted with native grasses and woodland and perennials for seasonal floral color, creating quieter experiences removed from the city. The Museum’s prioritization of accessibility, immersive exhibition spaces, and inspiring public spaces have garnered praise for the building as one of the world’s most accessible museums, as well as a “best new attraction of 2020”.
In collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The museum’s other notable attribute is its high level of accessibility. The architects borrowed inspiration from the Guggenheim Museum, which invites visitors to take an elevator to the top floor and then descend along ramps as they explore galleries. There are no steps up or down, and the goal is to eliminate any differences in the museum experience among people with varying physical abilities.
“At the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, All Athletes Are Equal”
New York Times, Oct. 21, 2020