31 July, 2020
Aimed to pay tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements, the museums' design, created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is defined by a complex roof clad in aluminium parts that sweeps and folds gracefully against its Rocky Mountains backdrop. The museum itself was inaugurated on 30 July.
The architects say that "the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum is a tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements with Team USA athletes at the center of the experience". The 5574.2 square meters building is aimed to "act as an anchor the new City for Champions District, forming a new axis bridging downtown Colorado Springs to the America the Beautiful Park to the west". It features 1858.1 square meters of galleries, a state-of-the-art theater, event space and café.
While the impressive facade consists of over 9,000 unique folded anodized diamond shaped aluminium panels, inside, a white colour palette creates a fitting context for various thematic displays. According to the official website, "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". Such play of light becomes possible due to unique reflective qualities of aluminium.
"Every aspect of our design strategy has been motivated by the goal of expressing the extraordinary athleticism and progressive values of Team USA," says Benjamin Gilmartin, DS+R's partner-in-charge. 'A taut aluminium façade flexes and twists over the building's dynamic pinwheel form, drawing inspiration from the energy and grace of Olympians and Paralympians. Inside, descending galleries are organized along a continuous spiral, enabling visitors of all abilities to have a shared, common experience along a universal pathway. After leading the museum's design for the past six years, I'm so moved by the collective, herculean effort that allowed us to now share these stories of perseverance with the public.
The architect team also claims that this builing is "amongst the most accessible museums in the world", as DS+R ensured all areas and events are equally accessible to people with and without disabilities – and they all share a common path through the building.