United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum



The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is a tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements with Team USA athletes at the center of the experience. The 60,000 square foot museum is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, home of the United States Olympic Training Center. The museum acts as an anchor for the new City for Champions District, forming a new axis and bridging downtown Colorado Springs to the America the Beautiful Park to the west.

The 60,000 sf building features 20,000 sf of galleries, a state-of-the-art theater, event space and café. Inspired by the energy and grace of the Team USA athletes and the organizations inclusive values, the building’s dynamic spiraling form allows visitors to descend the galleries in one continuous path. This main organization structure enables the museum to rank amongst the most accessible museums in the world, ensuring visitors of all abilities can smoothly share the same common experience.


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, the plaza is able to host outdoor events throughout the seasons, from the winter games through the summer games.


The façade consists of over 9,000 folded anodized diamond shaped aluminum panels, each unique in shape and size. The taut skin wraps four overlapping petal-like volumes that spiral around the internal structure. Each metallic panel is animated by the extraordinary light quality in Colorado Springs, producing gradients of color and shade that give the building another sense of motion and dynamism.


From the earliest stages of design, the team consulted a committee of Paralympic athletes and persons with disabilities to ensure that, from 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 wheel chair movement, and loose seating in the café optimize the shared experience.


DS+R designed 20,000 sf of gallery space as overlapping petals that wrap around the central atrium. Clerestory lighting at the seams between these petals provides a 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, which feature immersive interactive exhibitions designed by Gallagher Associates.

Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge

A new pedestrian bridge, which crosses railroad tracks, connects downtown Colorado Springs to America the Beautiful Park, as well as the existing trail system. The stressed skin structure simultaneously acts like an arch and a truss. The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry.

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Project information
Size (GSF)60000LocationColorado Springs, United States
groundbreakingJune 2017Commission2014opening30th July 2020
PartnersBenjamin Gilmartin,Elizabeth Diller,Charles Renfro,and Ricardo Scofidio
Project ArchitectHolly Deichmann
Project Architect, Concept DesignSean Gallagher
Project DesignerYushiro Okamoto
TeamAnthony Saby,Merica May Jensen,Ryan Botts,Charles Curran,Imani Day,Roberto Mancinelli,Rasmus Tobiasen,Ning Hiransaroj,Andreas Kostopoulos,Dino Kiratzidis,Emily Vo Nguyen,Jack Solomon,Valeri Limansubroto,and Sanny Ng
External credits
Anderson Mason Dale ArchitectsArchitect of Record
Gallagher & AssociatesExhibition Designers
Barrie ProjectsMuseum & Content Development
KL&A Inc. in collaboration with ArupStructural Engineer
Kiowa Engineering CorporationCivil Engineer
Jensen HughesFire Engineer
The Ballard GroupMechanical & Plumbing Engineer
ME EngineersElectrical Engineer
ArupAcoustics, Audio/Visual, Theater
Ileana RodriguezAccessibility
Tillotson Design AssociatesLighting
NES, Inc. in collaboration with Hargreaves JonesLandscape Architect
Advanced Consulting EngineersCode
Iros Elevator Design ServicesVertical Circulation
Dharam ConsultingCost Estimating
IconergyEnergy Modeling
Heitmann & AssociatesExterior Energy Consultant
MG McGrathFacade Fabrication
GE JohnsonConstruction Manager and General Contractor
    Photography by Jason O'Rear and Nic Lehoux