Pikes Peak Visitor Center Innovative Approach to Saving Water
The Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center’s innovative approach to saving water has been featured in Sierra Club Magazine. Check out the full article to learn more about how vacuum flush toilets and a water treatment system are drastically cutting back on water use atop the Peak.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Featured The Architect’s Newspaper March/April Issue Cover
The Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center has been featured on the cover of The Architect’s Newspaper March/April issue! RTA was proud to team with GWWO on this one-of-a-kind project atop the summit of Pikes Peak America’s Mountain. Learn more about the sustainable design that creates a mountaintop experience for visitors here:
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Awarded Project of the Year by ENR Mountain States!
The Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center has been awarded Project of the Year by ENR Mountain States! Mountain States’ 2022 Best Projects featured nearly 100 entries spanning Colorado, Wyoming, and the Dakotas that highlighted the tenacity of the AEC industry during the height of the pandemic. Projects were judged on design and construction quality, contribution to the community and industry and how they overcame unusual challenges through teamwork and innovation. Congratulations to our project partners for this well-deserved recognition! Read more about this innovative project here: ENR Mountain States Project of the Year: Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center | Engineering News-Record.
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Projects Named ENR Mountain States 2022 Best Projects
Congratulations to our Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center and High Altitude Research Laboratory project partners for being recognized by ENR Mountain States as 2022 Colorado/Wyoming/Dakotas Best Projects winners!
- Cultural/Worship: Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center,GE Johnson
- Specialty Construction: Pikes Peak Visitor Center, ICI LLC
- Small Project: High Altitude Research Lab, GE Johnson
RTA Projects Win Two 2022 DBIA Rocky Mountain Region Awards
Two RTA-GE Johnson design-build projects were recognized as the best in their categories at the 2022 DBIA Rocky Mountain Region award ceremony. The High Altitude Research Laboratory atop Pikes Peak won Best Government / Municipal Project, and the projects for Canon City Schools - the Canon City Middle School Addition and Renovation and the new Washington Elementary School - won Best Education Project, marking the third in a row that an RTA-designed project has won the Education category!
Thank you to these incredible design and construction teams and our clients who make these great design-build projects possible!
📷 courtesy of GE Johnson
The Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is a Place to Love
The RTA-designed Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is a Place To Love! Watch host Samantha Brown visit Pikes Peak to talk with Colorado Springs Parks Operations Administrator Sandy Elliott about the new Visitor Center, its improved accessibility, the incredible views, and of course the donuts during the Colorado Springs episode of the PBS series Places to Love.
Watch online anytime here or live on Rocky Mountain PBS on Saturday, February 19 at 3:30 pm. Check out the trailer below! 👇
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Featured on "If We Built It Today"
If We Built It Today is a fascinating series that features architects, historians and engineers who explore modern-day innovations that could be applied to recreate iconic building projects if they were built today. In a recent episode that featured Machu Picchu, the series looks at methods and materials used in the design and construction of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex because of its similarities to Machu Pichu regarding extreme weather and high-altitude mountainous conditions.
Watch the trailer here https://bit.ly/3qIFIxA , and check out the full episode on Discovery+ or the Science Channel.
PCI Ascent Magazine Features the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center
Did you know that the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is a total-precast structure? Read about the planning, design, fabrication, and construction of this incredible project in the fall issue of PCI Ascent Magazine https://bit.ly/3luYxCq.
RTA Architects Receives Top Honors from the Construction Specifications Institute for Environmental Stewardship
We are pleased to announce that RTA has been recognized with an Environmental Stewardship Award from the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). RTA was nominated for its work on the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex and the project’s pursuit of Living Building Challenge certification and for its work on the new East Side Clinic for Pueblo Community Health Center and the project’s pursuit of Zero Energy certification.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Materials
Design and construction of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center went to unprecedented lengths to incorporate materials that avoided Red List chemicals, included locally-sourced and salvaged materials, and reduced and recycled materials that came as a byproduct of construction; no small feat considering that over 4,000 man-hours went into the entire effort of vetting materials and advocating for green product practices on this already incredibly complex project.
Learn how the new Visitor Center will advocate for how our society evaluates everything that we put into our buildings for generations to come and about the sixth petal of the Living Building Challenge... Materials.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Health & Happiness
Colorado is a destination for visitors from all over the world seeking to connect with the awe-inspiring power of nature, and a healthy indoor environment that nurtures the human/nature connection was a key design goal of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center.
From improved indoor air quality and significantly increased access to natural light and breathtaking views through the expansive windows, learn more about how the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center was designed to provide an improved overall experience to maximize the health and happiness for both visitors and staff and the fifth petal of the Living Building Challenge… Health and Happiness.
Beyond the Blueprints: Mike Riggs Takes on the Pikes Peak Ascent
Welcome to Beyond the Blueprints, where we get to know RTA staff beyond their work lives. Join us in discovering the passions and interests of our amazing team!
In this issue, we hear from Associate Principal Mike Riggs and get his thoughts on his first attempt at grueling trek that is the Pikes Peak Ascent, a trail running competition that begins at the base of Pikes Peak, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and climbs over 7,815 feet to the top of the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak.
- Is this the first time you’ve done the Ascent?
Yes. While I have hiked up Barr Trail, ridden the Cog Railway, hiked down the Barr trail with my family, and drove to the summit every week over the last three years to oversee the construction of the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center, this is the first time I have attempted to run the Ascent.
- Why do you run?
I run to stay healthy, for decompression, and so that I can enjoy all the other activities that make Colorado a special place like skiing, hiking, paddle boarding, and mountain biking.
- How did you train for this event?
When I first moved here in 2002, I heard about the Ascent and thought that would be a cool thing to do. As the years passed, I realized I was getting older and it wasn’t going to get any easier. I really started training three years ago to complete a qualifying half marathon time. I had intended to do the ascent in 2020, but the race was cancelled due to the pandemic. That allowed me more training time, which was a good thing.
We are fortunate to have great parks and trails in Colorado Springs with easy access to Bear Creek Park, Monument Valley/Pikes Peak Greenway/Santa Fe Trail, Red Rocks Open Space, the Incline, and Cheyenne Canyon. With abundant trail options I try to squeeze in 30 to 50 miles per week. My kids will occasionally join me on their mountain bikes when I run on more tame trails.
- How do you stay motivated?
My daily focus on the tremendous push to finish Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center project over the last 18 months, given the weather and COVID-related delays the project faced, was an ever-present reminder of the challenges of the mountain. Running helps me decompress, so training for the Ascent was a really great thing for my mental health.
- What is your thought process like during the run?
During the Ascent, it is really easy to get caught up in the moment and another person’s race. I tried to keep MY goals in mind, focus on specific segments of the race, and listen to my body. Like most runners, I try to remind myself of why I am running and my goals. Without those it is really easy to lose focus and your drive.
- How does your career in architecture relate to your life as a runner?
Running and architecture are as much about the process as they are about the end product. Running trails is a chance to enjoy a good sunrise or an unexpected Colorado view as much as reaching a finish line. Similarly, the process of working with a group through the unexpected iterations of the design and construction process provides as much joy as seeing the initial construction and creating places for the enjoyment of the masses.
Being an architect requires an attention to detail, strategizing, keeping a broad perspective, and endurance of relentless rigor. Paying attention to your body, knowing when to slow down or run hard, and the ability to push through to an ultimate goal parallel very well to being an architect.
I have learned over the past six years how Pikes Peak is unique and exceptionally challenging. The Ascent was a great capstone and also an embodiment of those challenges.
- Are there any other races you plan to run?
I will be attempting a 55k trail run in Crested Butte at the beginning of October. It will be another unique challenge.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Energy
"If you can do it on Pikes Peak, you can do it anywhere."
The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center goes to unprecedented lengths to conserve and create its own energy. Learn more about some of the techniques used to power this incredible building and the fourth petal of the Living Building Challenge… Energy.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Water
"Water is life, especially here in Colorado."
The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is only the second location in Colorado to incorporate a wastewater recycling system. Learn more about how the new Summit Visitor Center is pioneering this technique to conserve and reuse this precious resource and the third petal of the Living Building Challenge… Water.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Place
“The mountain was not to be conquered. The environment was not an adversary. It was something to try and respond to.”
In part 2 of the video series “Our Road to Sustainability,” RTA Principal Stuart Coppedge and RTA Associate Principal Mike Riggs discuss how the strategic placement of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center was crucial to maintaining and working with the natural environment at the 14,000-foot summit of Pikes Peak. Learn more about the first element, or petal, of the Living Building Challenge… Place.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series
"Our Road to Sustainability"
Video #1: Introduction
The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is the most sustainable high-altitude structure in the country, if not the world. It is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainable design and is also striving to achieve Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification, a two-year certification process for highly sustainable net positive buildings. Currently, no other buildings in the state of Colorado are fully LBC certified.
Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain has launched a multipart video series called, “Our Road to Sustainability” that explains the seven performance areas, or petals, of the LBC; elements of which are integrated into the design and operation of the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center. The series includes commentary from USDA Forest Service representatives; Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain project managers; designers from RTA Architects; project leaders from GE Johnson; Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers; and other stakeholders.
Join us for the LBC video series that answers the question, “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?” and to learn more the sustainable elements of this incredible project!
RTA's Mike Riggs takes on the Ascent
RTA cheered our own Mike Riggs as he took on the Pikes Peak Marathon & Ascent, one of the oldest continually held half-marathons in the US. Beginning in Manitou Springs, more than 1400 runners made their way up to the summit of Pikes Peak in this year’s Ascent. The 13.3-mile race climbs about 7,800 vertical feet, making it a grueling uphill battle.
This was Mike’s first Ascent, and his time placed him in the top 26% of all runners in this year’s race! Way to go Mike!!
Follow our page for a full interview with Mike and how his work as Project Architect and Construction Administrator for the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center provided him with years of “on-the-job-training” for this challenging event.
- Ride Along with Travel + Leisure Magazine to the Summit of Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Featured on FOX21 Mornings
FOX21 Morning News continued their amazing coverage of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center with the July 9th morning show entirely dedicated to the brand new facility and the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Watch RTA Associate Principal Mike Riggs discuss the Visitor Center with Craig Coffey and Abbie Burke.
Pikes Peak Featured on ABC's Good Morning America
ABC's Good Morning America featured Pikes Peak during their July 2nd broadcast to kick off the Independence Day Weekend and their series on the re-opening of America. Did you know that Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write "America the Beautiful," the poem that would evolve into one of the nation’s best-loved patriotic songs, during a trip to Pikes Peak in 1893?
RTA Cuts the Ribbon of the new PIkes Peak Summit Visitor Center
There were smiles for miles as we celebrated the ribbon-cutting of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center along with hundredes of guests, City of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and Governor Jared Polis. Site work and finishing touches on the incredible exhibit space will continue over the summer, so be sure to check back for more updates!
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Announces Grand Opening
Exhibits, donuts, and views... oh my! The long-awaited opening of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is almost here and will open June 24th with a grand opening ribbon-cutting June 30th. Read more here.
Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Featured in Civil Engineering Source
Building design at 14,000 feet comes with many challenges, not the least of which are those involving materials and geotechnical conditions. In a recent article by The American Society of Civil Engineers' Civil Engineering Source, RTA Principal Stuart Coppedge, GWWO Architects Principal Alan Reed, HCDA Principal Steve Horner (structural engineering), and William Hoffmann Jr., senior engineering consultant for CTL Thompson, Inc. (geotechnical engineering), discuss how the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center design team handled everything from the effect of the extreme altitude on the concrete placement to protecting the summit’s fragile tundra ecosystem during design and construction.
RTA Projects Featured in Colorado Construction & Design Magazine SoCo Roundup
We were thrilled to see so many of our projects featured in the latest issue of Colorado Construction and Design Magazine including the St. Francis Medical Center Expansion, the new Pikes Peak Visitor Center, the new East Side Clinic for Pueblo Community Health Center, and the UCCS William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center. See page 52 of the SoCo report here… https://ccdmag.com/WS2021/index.html
Saying Goodbye to the Pikes Peak Summit House
Demolition of the 1960s-era Summit House on Pikes Peak has begun, marking the end of an era. This is the last major construction milestone ahead of the opening of the new Pikes Peak Visitor Center. The building will forever hold a special place in the hearts of the Summit House staff and millions of visitors who have visited the summit. It dutifully served its purpose for almost 60 years and was a construction marvel of its time, consistently withstanding the harsh 14,000-foot environment. As we say good bye, we look forward to making wonderful new memories in the new Visitor Center opening early this summer.
Video Credit: Windstar Studios and City of Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak Summit Complex 2021 Look Ahead and 2020 Year in Review
As we near the completion of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex, which includes the new Pikes Peak Visitor Center, we had a chance to reflect on the incredible and challenging year that was 2020.Here’s what we’re looking forward to in the last couple of months leading up to the exciting grand opening!
• Completion of the robust shutter system that will protect the glass, and the amazing views, from windborne debris
• Startup of the innovative on-site waste treatment plant
• Placement of east overlook plaque commemorating Katharine Lee Bates’ writing of America the Beautiful poem
• Completion of the south service road, guest parking lot, stairs to Cog Railway platform, boardwalk railing, Plaza-level boulders and landscaping, and fully operational lightning protection and building automated systems
• Completion of site orientation signage and areas of interest exhibits
• Completion of the U.S. Army-funded High Altitude Research Laboratory
Read the full 2020 year in review here… https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/20bprf117_ppsc_17x11_year_in_review-fnl-singlecrops.pdf
Pikes Peak Visitor Center Featured in Colorado Springs Magazine
The countdown is on to the opening of the new Pikes Peak Visitor Center! After years of design and construction, the new Visitor Center is slated to open in late May, and we couldn’t be more excited. See this month’s issue of Colorado Springs Magazine to read about some of the challenges of designing one of the world’s highest-altitude projects. The story starts on page 31.
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Sets a High Bar for Energy and Water Conservation
Check out this great video by Colorado Springs Utilities describing the ways the new Pikes Peak Summit Complexwill utilize significant water and energy-saving techniques. The vision to create a sustainable building atop Pikes Peak was realized due to the incredible efforts of the stakeholders and project partners involved. You can read more about the interplay of utilities atop the mountain in Colorado Spring's Utilitie's blog post.
The Adventure Continues at the Pikes Peak Summit Complex with Construction of North Overloook
Temperatures are warming in the city, but it’s still windy and cold on top of Pikes Peak, where construction on the Summit Complex continues. Within the past few days, the steel framework of the impressive North Overlook has been erected while work on the Visitor Center interior continues. When complete, the overlook will offer spell-binding views of the dramatic features on the north side of the Peak. Sharp eyes are already able to spot the entry lobby's soon-to-be iconic profile on the south side of the summit.
Celebrating Earth Week with Energy Efficient Design
Happy Earth Week! At RTA, we are proud of our environmental leadership especially as we seek to achieve Living Building Challenge certification for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex (and Net Zero Energy for the Pueblo Community Health Center’s new East Side Clinic, one of the first Net Zero Energy medical office buildings in North America.
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Construction Update
Check out the latest from our exciting project atop Pikes Peak! The April 2020 newsletter discusses the steps our construction partner GE Johnson is taking to ensure the safety of all workers, the 2020 construction timeline, and a link to the live construction site camera feed.
2019 Pikes Peak Summit Complex Year in Review
What an incredible year it’s been for construction progress on the new RTA/GWWO-designed Summit Complex atop Pikes Peak! Take a look at all that’s happened in 2019 on this amazing project, the highest ongoing construction site in North America. 🗻 Read more about this great project here.
RTA Team Tours Pikes Peak
As construction on the Pikes Peak Summit Complex progresses, many of the RTA team members who have not been part of the project team had the opportunity to tour the site and grab some “World Famous Pikes Peak Donuts”. Check out these great photos as we observed the amazing construction on Pikes Peak America's Mountain. Read more about the project here.
Pikes Peak Summit Complex and Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center Featured at AGC Southern Happy Hour & Project Spotlight
RTA was proud to be a sponsor for recent AGC Happy Hour & Project Spotlight that highlighted the progress of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex and UCCS William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center projects and some of the cutting-edge technology being used in the construction processes. Thank you to JE Dunn, GE Johnson, Centura Health, and UCCS for their presentations and to everyone who attended!
New Pikes Peak Visitor Center Tops Out
In spite of wind, cold, and shorter days, our project partners at GE Johnson Construction Company “topped out” the steel on the new Pikes Peak Visitor Center last week. Interior construction on the mechanical and electrical systems will continue through the winter as access up the Pikes Peak Highway allows. Read more about this project and check out the GE Johnson jobsite camera here.
The Pikes Peak Summit Complex Goes Vertical
The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex atop Pikes Peak - America's Mountain has gone vertical, as pre-cast concrete walls and floors are being erected by GE Johnson and Stresscon. Watch the construction progress here!
FOX21 News Reports on Pikes Peak Summit Complex
Watch as Colorado Springs’ FOX21 News reports on some of the elements that made the design of the new Summit Complex on Pikes Peak - America's Mountain so challenging and unique for the RTA Architects and GWWO, Inc./Architects design team!
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Already Affecting Local Economy
Still under construction, the new GWWO, Inc/Architects and RTA-designed Summit Complex atop Pikes Peak is already having a big impact on the Colorado Springs economy!
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Construction Progress
Big things are happening atop Pikes Peak! Our team has made huge strides to keep the Summit Complex progress on schedule despite a tight construction schedule and unpredictable weather changes. Click here to read more about the challenges of designing and working at 14,115 feet.
Pikes Peak - America's Mountain Summit Complex Teaser Trailer
If you've been wondering what excavation for our new Summit Complex at 14,115 feet atop Pikes Peak looks like, check out this awesome video!
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Construction Camera
The team atop Pikes Peak has been working hard to complete as much as they can on the new Summit Complex before their short construction season comes to an end. Recently they have been blasting permafrost and bedrock, preparing for the central raised walkway, and some excavation has already begun. We'll be looking forward to the erection of part of the building core in the coming months and now you can watch too! Click here to access the live stream.
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Groundbreaking
Today's the day for the long-awaited groundbreaking of the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex at Pikes Peak! Pikes Peak is one of the most visited mountains in the world and a top tourist attraction for the State of Colorado with over 600,000 visitors annually. The new facility designed by RTA with GWWO, Inc./Architects of Baltimore (as Design Architect), will be constructed by GE Johnson next to the current Summit House which will remain open to visitors through the end of construction in 2020. Read the full press release here.
Raising the bar for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex
The goals set by Pikes Peak Summit Complex design team - including RTA Architects and GWWO, Inc. / Architects - already surpass LEED silver standards. But sights have been set even higher. The team now is pursuing the Living Building Challenge, the world's most vigorous performance standard for structures. Read more about the enviromental goals of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex here.
New design for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex unveiled
The preferred design concept for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex was revealed at a standing-room-only public meeting by the design team – led by RTA Architects and including GWWO, Inc. Architects – the City of Colorado Springs, and Pikes Peak - America's Mountain. Stuart Coppedge, AIA, RTA Principal-in-Charge commented, “We and our design partner GWWO have heard, listened, and incorporated a lot of public feedback within the parameters of designing a building to withstand the harsh high-altitude environment. The desire of the team is to design buildings and site improvements that are functional, maintainable, energy efficient, educational, inspirational, and timeless, but that also fit within and reflect the natural environment.”
Learn more about the Pikes Peak Summit Complex project here, or follow RTA's Facebook and Linkedin pages.
The four design concepts for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex
Our own Stuart Coppedge, AIA describes the four design concepts for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex in a Public Service Announcement.
RTA Architects to lead Pikes Peak Summit Complex team
In a highly competitive process, the team of RTA Architects of Colorado Springs, as Architect of Record, and GWWO, Inc./Architects of Baltimore, as Design Architect, was selected to create an iconic experience for the summit of Pikes Peak. Celebrating 40 years of innovative design and exemplary client service, RTA's well-known local projects include the Gottlieb Building addition and renovation at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Francis Medical Center, and University Village Colorado Shopping Center. GWWO has designed numerous distinctive visitor centers at such national treasures as George Washington's Mount Vernon, Fort McHenry National Monument, and Everglades National Park.Stuart Coppedge, AIA, RTA Principal-in-Charge: "This is the kind of project every architect dreams of and spends a career preparing for. To be able to serve our city on the mountain we all love is an honor and means the world to all of us at RTA. All of our team members are beside themselves with excitement, and we are committed to engaging all the stakeholders in crafting a summit experience the entire community will be proud of."Alan Reed, FAIA, GWWO Design Principal: "We are very honored and excited to be a part of the transformation of the Pikes Peak visitor experience. We have been fortunate to be involved in the stewardship of many of our national treasures, and the opportunity to continue this work at a place so significant to our nation's heritage and pioneering spirit is a true privilege."Project Consultants:Public Relations and Communication: Bachman PR, Colorado SpringsCivil Engineer: Kiowa Engineering, Colorado SpringsLandscape Architect: DHM Design, DenverStructural Engineer: HCDA Engineering, Inc., Colorado SpringsMechanical/Electrical, and Plumbing Engineer: ME Group, DenverExhibit Design: Gallagher & Associates, Washington, DCExtreme Climate: AECOM, Denver and AnchorageFood Service: Webb Foodservice Design, Colorado SpringsSpecifications: NASH Architectural Solutions, Honolulu, HICode and Accessibility: Jensen Hughes, Colorado SpringsHistoric Preservation: The Preservation Studio, Colorado Springs