Project Team Shares Preliminary Design Concepts During Public Meeting
Nearly 90 people attended the Pikes Peak Summit Complex Design Team public meeting and presentation at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post in Manitou Springs, Wednesday, Oct. 7. The design architects, RTA Architects and GWWO Inc. / Architects presented initial concepts for the new visitor center atop Pikes Peak. In addition to design concepts, information about interpretive exhibits, landscaping, sustainability, water, permafrost and mechanical challenges, and other aspects of the design process were shared with the public.

For more information about the Pikes Peak Summit Complex design process and to sign up to receive notices of public meetings, visit: www.PikesPeakColorado.com and scroll down to the green category tab, "Summit Complex Project."
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Design Concepts

The design concepts shown below are preliminary schematics. Building materials, aesthetics and landscaping will be added in future concepts. For more detail about each design concept, VIEW the presentation and provide comments by clicking the form link at the end.

A main consideration in all of our designs is staying mindful of siting and view sheds. As visitors ascend to the top, the sky and mountains monopolize the view and the building is secondary. Inside, the building will function to move visitors throughout the facility, dispersing them naturally to assist in crowd control and improving the overall experience. With the incorporation of additional interpretation, visitors will leave with a greater understanding of how Pikes Peak was formed, discovered and its importance in American history. The building will also guide visitors to experience the summit in its entirety through the incorporation of accessible trails and interpretive opportunities. 

VIEW the fly-thru animated videos of each of the design concepts. 

Option 1 - Homage to Zebulon Pike & Edwin James

Upon approach to the summit, visitors take in the expansive and pristine views, just as Zebulon Pike saw and Edwin James experienced. The only indication that this peak has been touched by man is the understated entry, which emerges from grade and is sited directly between the highest part of Pikes Peak and Mt. Rosa, the location from where Pike viewed the peak. For those arriving via car, the view to Mt. Rosa is framed in the distance as one enters the Summit House.  Visitors can then walk on the roof terrace to take in the view just as James would have years ago.  Those arriving via Cog train enter the Summit House and ascend a grand stair to bring them to the top of the peak. The one story scheme is built into the mountain top on the southeast corner of the site, away from the peak's most dramatic view sheds, and is essentially a non-building. 
Option 2: The Outcropping

Reminiscent of the crags and rock formations found above the tree line, the design of this option uses shade, shadows and fragmentation to blend into the summit. As a two-story form nestled into the northeast side of the mountain, it is minimally impactful on the land. Viewed from below, this option blends seamlessly with the mountain, yet as one arrives at the peak, it is viewed as a clear destination. Upon entering the two-story lobby, visitors are treated to an expansive and spectacular view down the mountain. Those arriving via the Cog train will enter on the ground floor of the lobby and be drawn through the building in order to experience the views from both levels. In this option, interpretation and the gift shop are located on the second floor and the dining area, restrooms and support spaces are located on the first floor.


Option 3 - Biomimicry - Learning from Nature

Similar to the flora and fauna that inhabit Pikes Peak above the tree line, option 3 is derived from the natural forces prevalent at the peak. Like the lichens and tundra vegetation, this option takes full advantage of solar orientation and is shaped to minimize the impact of the unceasing wind. Located on the northeast corner of the site, this aerodynamic structure is clearly a destination. As visitors walk towards the Summit House from the parking lot area they are shielded from the peak's most dramatic views, but as they enter on the second level, they are treated to a spectacular vista of the distant mountains. A balcony that extends over the Cog approach on the east offers an unprecedented panoramic view. The Cog arrives below, dropping off visitors on the first level where they have access to the gift shop and restrooms. The second level houses the dining area and interpretation.

Option 4 - Geomorphology

Geomorphology - noun; the study of the characteristics, origin, and development of landforms

Mimicking the way in which Pikes Peak was formed, the building forms rise from the surrounding landscape. Located to the north, this option respects critical view sheds to the east and west and is unseen from Colorado Springs. Upon approach, the magnificent view to the north is framed by the two-story lobby of the Summit House and High Altitude Research Laboratory building, focusing one's attention to the mountains beyond. Experienced in the same manner whether one arrives by car, Cog, bike or foot, visitors may choose to visit the actual summit or take in the aforementioned view prior to entering the Summit House.  In addition, visitors are given an opportunity to ascend the roof of the lobby space-essentially the highest point on the peak to experience a 360 degree view of the summit. In this option, the gift shop and restrooms are located on the second level with the dining area and interpretation located below.
CLICK HERE to provide your comments on each of the designs.
Be Part of History --
Take the Survey

Help shape the visitor experience at a new Summit Visitor Center atop Pikes Peak -- America's Mountain.

The design team is in the process of reviewing what they've heard from the public thus far as well as input from the majopermit holders of the summit complex and refining the preliminary concepts. The next public meeting is anticipated to take place in mid-December. 

For future meeting notices, send an email asking to be added to the project database to 

Phase 1 - Programming and Development of Design Concepts - Fall 2015

Phase 2 - Concept Review and Selection - Winter 2016

Phase 3 - Plan Development - Spring 2016

Phase 4 - Solicitation of Construction Management/General Contractor - Late Fall 2015

Phase 5 - Construction Start (HARL and Plant Building) - Summer / Fall 2016

Visitor Center Ground Breaking - Summer  / Fall 2017

"The goal of the design process for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex is to create a seamless, immersive visitor experience. From arrival at the summit and through all steps in the experience, visitors should be focused on and enveloped in the natural forms of the mountain, as well as the expansive views. Designs for the interior and exterior exhibits, site improvement and amenities, and building will become part of the story-telling, merging with the natural environment so that a balance is created and emphasis is placed on the resource and the experience of the peak."  Stuart Coppedge, Principal  with RTA Architects

 Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

What Facilities Make Up the 
Pikes Peak Summit Complex?
The United States Forest Service (USFS) has jurisdiction over the land (the Pike National Forest) on which the Pikes Peak Highway and the Summit House (visitor center) are built, but the City of Colorado Springs manages and maintains these facilities (operating under a special use permit with the USFS). At the summit of Pikes Peak there is currently a municipal utility facility and three facilities serving federal and local agencies, including:
  • The Summit House visitor center and Plant Building, operated as a City Enterprise by Pikes Peak - America's Mountain (PPAM)
  • The Maher Memorial High-Altitude Research Laboratory (HARL), operated by the U.S. Army Research of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM)
  • The Pikes Peak Multi-User Communication Facility, operated by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU)
To safely UNSUBSCRIBE from this project e-newsletter only, send an email to Lisa@bachmanpr.comThis removes you from receiving information about this project only, but assures you continue to receive e-newsletters about other projects you signed up for in the past. SafeUnsubscribe below removes you from receiving ALL project e-newsletters.