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Pikes Peak Summit Complex Preferred Design Concept


Perfect Balance Between a Clear Destination and a Minimalist Structure

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The City of Colorado Springs and the design team for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex project, RTA and GWWO, Inc./Architects, revealed the preferred design concept and site location for the new summit visitor center atop the 14,115’ summit of Pikes Peak during a public meeting today at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs.

After presenting four options for the new Summit House Complex in October, public input resulted in a plethora of comments and suggestions. “A commonality among them was evident,” said Jack Glavan, manager of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. “There was a distinct desire for something modern and unique for Pikes Peak, but also an appeal for the building to be as unobtrusive as possible.  Merging the two, the direction for the building became clear.”

Predominately a one-story form seemingly carved from the southeast side of the Peak, the new Summit House offers unobstructed views to the east.  Reminiscent of the crags and rock formations found above the tree line, the design uses shade, shadows and fragmentation to coalesce into the Peak.  Clad in material similar to Pikes Peak granite, the modern hue seamlessly blends into the mountainside.  Viewed from below, it is one with the mountain, yet as one arrives at the Peak, the modest entry pavilion is a clear destination.

“Captivating, but also functional, the building is sited to take advantage of the unique environmental conditions present on the top of Pikes Peak,” said Alan Reed, principal with design architects GWWO, Inc./Architects  “Nestled into the mountain, exposure to the harsh winds is minimized, while the mass of the building provides sheltered outdoor areas from which to enjoy the views.”

The orientation of the building to the south takes full advantage of the enhanced solar gain at altitude, including daylight harvesting and the incorporation of photovoltaics to generate electricity.  In addition, the thermal mass of the building’s stone cladding helps capture and radiate heat generated by the sun to the interior of the building.  Other sustainable features include composting toilets and low flow fixtures to conserve water.

Pikes Peak Summit Complex Unveils Preferred Design, Page 2 of 2

“One of the many things that makes Pikes Peak so special is that it is America’s Mountain—the only fourteener that everyone, no matter age or fitness level, can experience,” said Stuart Coppedge, principal with RTA, lead architects for the project. “As such, the design offers visitors the same pristine and untouched experience as those ascending other fourteeners while providing modern amenities and expanded interpretive opportunities, ultimately leaving visitors in awe and overwhelmingly satisfied with their experience.”

The deteriorating condition of the existing 50-year-old summit buildings has prompted the City of Colorado Springs, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army, Colorado Springs Utilities, and the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway to embark on a process to design and build new facilities that incorporate the Summit House visitor center, the Plant Building, Communications Facility and the High-Altitude Research Laboratory.

Local construction company GE Johnson was selected by the City of Colorado Springs as the Construction Manager/General Contractor to oversee construction of the City’s summit complex facilities. Off site fabrication is expected to start in early 2017, subject to the outcome of the Environment Assessment currently underway by the U.S. Forest Service.

Review the preferred design materials and provide your feedback: 

Full Presentation of the Design Concept (Note: Long Load Time) 

Summary of the Design Concept Presentation

Fly-Through Simulation Video of the Design Concept