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Colorado School for the Deaf and the BlindThe Gottlieb Building

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The Gottlieb Building houses the School for the Deaf on the campus of Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) in Colorado Springs, CO. The school design specifically addresses the special needs of this student population, including the concepts of “deaf space” and 21st century learning environments.

RTA worked in close collaboration with CSDB to develop design concepts that supported their specific educational methods. Utilizing interpreters, RTA conducted design charrettes that included administrators, deaf staff, hearing staff, students, and Board of Education representatives.

The Gottlieb building houses K-12 students from around the state of Colorado who qualify as deaf or hard of hearing. The spaces are specifically designed for them; an open interior design for better visibility and communication, flexible spaces for multipurpose use, and round outdoor spaces to promote ease of visual conversation and signing. The new addition was designed with long sightlines for students to be able to see everything going on around them.

This project offered some unique design challenges that were successfully navigated throughout the design process. Materiality and visibility allow what used to be the exterior of a historic building to become part of the interior “fabric.” These stone walls provide a great foundation for the new high performance spaces. The school has been transformed from a dated institutional building into an inviting 21st century learning environment. The building is finished and furnished in a manner that inspires pride in the education process. The 28,862-square-foot renovation and 9,289-square-foot addition sits on the campus of Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.


  • 2012 Honor Award, AIA Colorado South Chapter
  • 2011 Summit Design Merit Award for Renovation, CEFPI
  • 2011 Award of Excellence, Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs
  • LEED for Schools - Silver Certification
  • Sustainable Sites, Energy and Atmosphere, Material and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority Credits