From the outside, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum displays a series of shingled anodized panels that bend and stretch, designed to mimic an athlete in motion. The interior structure’s flexing and twisting evoke a series of struggles, and aspirations athletes experience preparing for events.
The $90 million museum is located in Olympic City, USA, the gateway to downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is also the home of the U.S. Olympic Training Center. It has made the list of one of the most anticipated buildings to open in 2020 by Architectural Digest magazine. It was chosen in part for its “elegance of design,” exemplified by a series of buildings appearing to be suspended in motion.
Very few buildings in the U.S. made this prestigious list, some of them being Central Park Tower in New York, the Vista Tower in Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Another building on the list is the National Stadium in Tokyo, which will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Remarkable by Design
What’s most remarkable about the museum is that it is designed in such a way as to make it highly accessible and interactive. All visitors, regardless of ability, will be able to experience the exhibits thanks to the building’s inclusive design and the use of assistive technologies. These include mobile apps, video captions, audio description tracks, universal keypads, and many others.
There will be a pedestrian bridge at the museum’s edge that will connect downtown Colorado Springs with America the Beautiful Park. Its stressed skin structure is designed to resemble an exercise in fitness, both in terms of the materials and geometry of its design.
While the interior evokes the struggles and aspirations of the athletes, the exhibits will focus on the Olympic and Paralympic athlete’s movements, as well as their core values of friendship, respect, determination, equality, inspiration, and courage. Visitors, including those with disabilities who arrive in an accessible wheelchair van, can access the building and will ascend the beautiful light draped atrium in an elevator, before gradually descending through a series of loft galleries. The building will also accommodate a commercial wheelchair van for passenger drop-off and pickup.
Telling the Athlete’s Stories
The interactive exhibits will showcase the Olympic and Paralympic athlete’s compelling stories. There will be a series of artifacts, media, and advanced interactive technology used by the athletes who bring pride to our country. Visitors will get a tour of the games from their birth in ancient Olympia to current Team USA hopefuls who can be found training in Colorado Springs every day. The museum will also house one of the most expensive Olympic medals and torch collections in the world.
Due to its innovative and interactive design, the museum is one of the most accessible in the world. Thanks to the use of advanced technology, no visitor will have the same experience twice. As guests descend to the atrium, they will have expansive views of the downtown area.
When designing the museum, the architects worked with athletes with disabilities to make sure it is accessible for all visitors. It’s anticipated that there will be 350,000 visitors each year, and will further ensure that Colorado Springs is “Olympic City USA.”