Summit Complex Design Receives Positive Reaction for being Captivating and Unobtrusive
The City of Colorado Springs and the design team for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex project, RTA Architects and GWWO, Inc. Architects, revealed the preferred concept and site location for the new visitor center atop the 14,115' summit of Pikes Peak. The unveiling took place during a public meeting at the Penrose House in which nearly 175 citizens participated.

The four design options originally presented in October 2015 resulted in a plethora of public 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.
"One of the many things that makes Pikes Peak so special is that it is America's Mountain, and 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."
Click here to see the design illustrations, narrative and fly-through simulation video.
Click here to view Pikes Peak Summit House Complex PSA.
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A full house for the Jan. 26 public meeting.


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

Phase 2 - Concept Review and Selection - Winter 2016

Phase 3 - Plan Development and Construction Documents - Spring 2016

Phase 4 - Solicitation of Construction Management/General Contractor - Late Fall 2015 (GE Johnson selected)

Phase 5 - Off-site Fabrication - Early 2017 / On-site Construction Start - Mid-2017

Over the next few months, the project team will take the design to the next level of refinement and will begin collaborating with the Construction Manager/ General Contractor GE Johnson.
Preferred Concept - 
What was it Based Upon?   

The intent of the four original concepts was to illustrate unique and different ways to meet the same overall goals related to the functional spaces, sizes, adjacency requirements, and analysis of the site. The drawing and images generated showed, conceptually, how the interior spaces and exterior elements could be arranged and various building locations and shapes, but did not show exterior or interior materials. The City of Colorado Spring, after careful review (including input from the other major stakeholders, verbal and written comments received at the public open house, and comments made on-line) selected Option 1, essentially a mostly one-level building nested into the southeast rim of the summit, with a raised, upper level entry from the parking area and a main level entry from the cog railroad platform.This option is highly climate responsive and minimizes the facility's visual impact, allowing the mountain itself to be the primary visual feature.

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