Architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro has arranged the galleries of the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado, which opens this week, around a spiralling ramp to make it one of the most accessible museums in the world.
Located in downtown Colorado Springs, the museum is composed of four aluminium-covered volumes arranged in a pinwheel formation that contain the galleries, an auditorium and events space. The four volumes are wrapped in a steel superstructure that appears to fold over glazing on the ground floor, with vertical windows extending to the top of the building.
Accessibility formed a key element of the project, which is the only museum in the US dedicated to the legacy of the country’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The New York practice consulted with Paralympic athletes and persons with disabilities, to create a museum in which all visitors could enjoy the same experience. Smooth floors suited to wheelchairs, glass guardrails that allow for visibility from a low height, benches with guards for canes and moveable cafe seating are among other details designed to improve accessibility.