Pikes Peak – America's Mountain – is one of the most visited mountains in the world and a top tourist attraction for the State of Colorado. Visited by more than 600,000 people annually, it is unique in that is the only “fourteener” (a mountain of 14,000 feet in altitude) that everyone can access regardless of age or fitness level. Pikes Peak is an American icon, and the summit is a National Historic Landmark that holds a special place in America's heart. With deteriorating conditions, the current 1960s era Pikes Peak Summit Complex no longer meets the needs of its ever-growing visitors.
The goal for the design team - led by RTA Architects and including GWWO, Inc./Architects - is to give visitors to the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex a seamless, immersive experience with facilities specifically designed for the harsh environment on the Peak. A primary consideration in all of our designs is to stay mindful of siting and view sheds. RTA and GWWO, Inc./Architects are guiding the design process using extensive public input and deep collaboration among all project stakeholders including the City of Colorado Springs and the US Forest Service. RTA is also providing support for the project’s fundraising efforts.
The design option above was derived from public input, the Peak’s history, rock formations, climate, and landform development. As visitors ascend to the top of the Peak the sky and mountains monopolize the view, with the building becoming part of the visitor experience rather than the primary focus. Inside the Summit Visitor Center, visitors will be exposed to a greater understanding the Peak’s formation, discovery, and its iconic place in American History through interpretive design of exhibits. The building will then guide visitors back outside to continue their experience of the beauty, richness and history of Pikes Peak through the incorporation of accessible trails and additional interpretive opportunities. The Pikes Peak Summit Complex also has high sustainability goals and is pursuing the Living Building Challenge. If successful, it will be the first building at 14,000 feet in altitude to achieve this prestigious certification.