This museum honours the United States’ most gifted athletes. The rhythmic façade smoothly wraps the building in an aluminium cladding the reflects the extraordinary light quality of the Colorado Springs area.

Inside, the exhibits wind down around a central atrium in a series of ramps, creating one of the most accessible museums in the world, all visitors and athletes can share a common experience.

The unique interior configuration demanded precise planning and calculated geometry to properly light a variety of exhibits and artefacts from constantly varying ceiling planes. An all-LED based track lighting system of over 1000 fixtures was comprised of only two fixture types to create a wide range of colours and textures by incorporating specialized lenses filters, and gobos. Artfully programmed colour-changing LED fixtures deliver an immersive video presentation of the historic opening ceremonies to life by injecting a dynamic, environmental movement of light to these iconic and emotional events.

A combination of low voltage track dimming, and local DMX controllers provided an efficient and powerful system that limits energy usage to 1.3 watts/sq. ft., while creating active, dynamic environments reflecting the boundless energy of the extraordinary athletes.

The museum’s geometry is dynamic and in a constantly changing articulation, with walls and ceilings that fold, bend, twist, and blur the distinction between floor, walls, and ceiling. The lighting discreetly accentuates these forms while keeping the primary focus on the exhibits. By subtly shifting colour palettes in the mostly white environments, each gallery feels fresh and different, reducing both visitor eye strain and chromatic adaptation.

The decentralized control strategy was used to tailor controls to a constantly developing complex exhibit experience installation. Temporary high-end theatrical consoles were deployed to get the most of multi-attribute moving lights, colour-changing luminaires, and other effects generators. Sequences were then streamed and recorded on robust, localized DMX playback devices providing an economic, stable, and low-maintenance solution for dependable day after day operation.

Many of the exhibits are hands-on; visitors either touch real objects or experience digital simulation. Light sensitive artefacts throughout require careful limiting of light levels to meet conservation standards. This necessitated solving both a lighting geometry and compositional challenge to present one cohesive and spectacular space while separating bright user engagement areas from light sensitive artefact zones, all in close proximity. Miniature LED fixtures were magnetically mounted inside geometrically complex cases to highlight artefacts sculpturally, dramatically, and responsibly.

The electric lighting functioned as a visual glue between exhibits, media, and daylight; Creatively modulating the application of colour and intensity provided smooth and delicate transitions between elements. The contrast between vibrant saturated colours and sharp, crisp white highlights embellishes this story of human tenacity overcoming fear, physics, and obstacles to become a winner.


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