April 2016
A High Altitude Transformation Will Soon Be 
Taking Place at the Summit of Pikes Peak
 
Click here to enlarge image. 
Since the January rollout of the preferred design for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, the project team continues to respond to public input while working on the next level of a more detailed design concept. The project team, major permit holders a
nd GE Johnson (Construction Manager/General Contractor) continue to meet regularly progressing on detailed planning efforts of a myriad of mechanical, technical and environmental aspects of the project including: power generation, parking, access, renewable energy opportunities (solar/thermal, photovoltaic arrays), electrical/plumbing, interpretive displays, food and retail facilities, Cog design and construction, geotechnical considerations, water requirements and the feasibility of a well at the summit, ADA parking, site seating, hike/bike facilities, to name just a few.  

The next public meeting will be held this summer. The project team will present more defined interior and exterior design and will address construction.
Environmental Assessment Update
 
The City of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak - America's Mountain (PPAM), in partnership with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) and U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (U.S. Army), selected a preferred design for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex located in the Pike National Forest in El Paso County, Colorado. The U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service), Pikes Peak Ranger District, will carry forward the preferred design in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to consider and disclose the environmental effects of redesigning and constructing the Pikes Peak Summit Complex. The Forest Service anticipates the release of the EA and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in late summer of 2016.
Click here to view Pikes Peak Summit House Complex PSA.
The Pikes Peak Summit Complex Project is Bioclimatic:
     A Sustainable Climate-responsive Design with Minimal Environmental Impact

"Leaving no stone unturned" are words that describe the Pikes Peak Summit Complex Project Team efforts to create a sustainable, climate-responsive visitor center design with minimal environmental impact.
 
A preferred design concept was revealed at a Public Meeting Tuesday, January 26 at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs. 
 
"We'd love it if visitors look at the building as a great example of how we can minimize our impact on the site while still facilitating a memorable experience of Pikes Peak. We want the building to be less impactful, minimize our footprint on the earth and restore and regenerate what's been damaged over the last 50 years," said Pete Jefferson, one of the engineers on the project team from M.E. GROUP.
 
M.E. GROUP is working with local RTA Architects and GWWO, Inc. of Baltimore along with unique stakeholders comprised of the US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and Pikes Peak America's Mountain. Under this arrangement, the preferred design concept will deliver a new, ecologically sensitive visitor center and Army High Altitude Research Lab (HARL) on the summit.
 
Climate is a Key Consideration. 
 
"Bioclimatic" is a term often used to describe a climate-responsive building designed for a unique climate - attuned to its local climate, environment and living matter. There's a lot to consider with a project of this scope when it comes to sustainable design. Some of the factors and aspirational goals include:
Click Here to enlarge graphic.
















Jefferson said climate was a big consideration in the building design. "The region is Climate Zone 8, where the site is subjected to harsh weather conditions resembling few other places on earth. The only other place with that climate zone in the U.S. is Alaska. So it's colder on the summit than Fairbanks and Nome, Alaska. Two-thirds of the hours are below freezing and 50 percent are less than 20 degrees. The preferred concept is responsive to the winds and wind direction. Being hunkered down into the site reduces the wall area that's exposed to the winds and temperatures, and winds can exceed 100 miles per hour."
 
Construction materials to match the force of such an intense environment have to be robust. The design includes double or triple the levels of insulation required by code. Engineers are working closely with the architectural team to be judicious with the amount of glass used, desiring a balance between the spectacular view and mechanical heating demands for the building.

More than 600,000 visitors each year come to the summit and to experience the commanding views. They arrive by foot, car and rail. Pikes Peak is the only "14-er" summit accessible to the young, old and disabled alike. With the new visitor center, not only will they explore a regenerative building respectful of the environment, but they'll also find enhanced interpretive elements of historical and natural significance. The Pikes Peak Summit Complex Project is destined to elevate every visitor's experience. The day after the new Summit House grand opening, perhaps we'll see this headline: America's Mountain Gets a Facelift!
Public Input Summary for the Preferred Design

Survey responses received from the public indicate general support for the preferred design because it is minimalistic, low to the ground, simple and non-obtrusive. Some of the input received includes:
  • Larger uninterrupted atrium for more people
  • More tundra restoration
  • Restrooms separated from shopping and dining

READ MORE public comments regarding the preferred design.

Take the Survey
Selected Design


Please tell us your thoughts about the selected design by completing the online survey.
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Click here to see the design illustrations, narrative and fly-through simulation video.
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Design Timeline

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

Phase 2 - Concept Review and Selection - January 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
Next Steps

The Project Team is in the process of taking the design to the next level of refinement, working in collaboration with the Construction Manager/General Contractor GE Johnson.

Another public meeting is planned for late summer to present more refined designs to the community. 
Design Description

Predominately a one-story form seemingly carved from the southeast side of the Peak, the new Summit House visitor center will offer 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.

Building Interior

Inside, visitors will be taken aback by the boundless sky and perfectly framed views of Mt. Rosa. Stairs to the main level appear to fold down out of the mountain as visitors descend to the main floor to access exhibits, dining, a gift shop and restrooms. Warm, rustic colors fortified by the ceiling's beetle kill pine uniquely tie the interior to the region. Those arriving via cog are given the choice to explore the Peak, interpret the ruins, or enter the Summit House via the main level. Providing access to these multiple destinations naturally disperses the crowds, resulting in a more enjoyable individual experience.

Building Exterior

Like the interior finishes, the exterior materials will primarily be selected for durability and contextual appropriateness. It is critical that this building does not become a maintenance burden for Pikes Peak - America's Mountain. One of the advantages to the selected option is that much of the building abuts the earth itself, with less exterior fašade than a completely above-ground building, limiting the amount of exterior enclosure. The selected orientation also limits the amount of glass exposed to the grit that blows across the summit, as well as providing for maximum solar gain. Rock excavated from the building site will be used to help define the vehicular and pedestrian circulation around the summit.

Click here for additional information.

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