Architectural Wonders - Colorado Springs Vacation & Tourism Information | Colorado Springs, Colorado

Architectural Wonders

Get a striking view of the rich artistry and design that helped create the culture of Colorado Springs.


The Pikes Peak region boasts an impressive past. These significant structural stops range from chapels to El Paso County’s previous courthouse. Many are included on the National Register of Historic Places.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum is a tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements with Team USA athletes at the center of the experience. Inspired by the energy and grace of the Team USA athletes and the organization's inclusive values, the building’s dynamic spiraling form allows visitors to descend the galleries in one continuous path. This main structure enables the museum to rank amongst the most accessible museums in the world, ensuring visitors with and without disabilities can smoothly share the same common experience. 

The façade consists of over 9,000 folded anodized diamond-shaped aluminum panels, each unique in shape and size. The taut skin wraps four overlapping petal-like volumes that spiral around the internal structure. Each metallic panel is animated by the extraordinary light quality in Colorado Springs, producing gradients of color and shade that give the building another sense of motion and dynamism.

The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex stands to be as fascinating and unique as the history of the mountain it will stand on. The Pikes Peak Summit Complex is the highest ongoing construction site in North America. Constructing this challenging project will create a facility that takes advantage of the inspiring views and natural beauty of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. Visitors will be able to enjoy new interactive digital displays, extensive viewing areas, shopping and dining. The Summit Complex is being constructed to meet The Living Building Challenge – the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings. Considerations in meeting this goal include restoring the building’s interrelationship with nature; creating environments that optimize physical and psychological health and wellbeing; and using materials that are safe for all species through time. The native flora and fauna have also been taken into account, with detailed plans to restore alpine tundra and create habitats throughout the site.

The Royal Gorge Bridge opened to the public in 1929. Hovering 956 feet above the Arkansas River, it held the record of the highest bridge in the world until 2001. Constructed as a tourist attraction by Chief Engineer George E. Cole, it took less than six months to complete with a cost of $350,000. Visitors can cross the 18-foot wide, 1,292 wooden plank structure via foot, bicycle or Segway vehicle and experience an array of rides and adventures inside the park.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center opened in 1936. Acclaimed architect John Gaw Meem was hired to design a cutting-edge location featuring Art Deco styles into a grand building that would later earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The museum also boasts a modern, beautiful theatre venue with a dramatic proscenium arch. The mahogany veneer walls of the auditorium were designed to reflect sound, like the interior acoustics of a violin.

Colorado College’s Shove Memorial Chapel is considered one of the finest examples of Norman Romanesque architecture in the entire state. Constructed in 1931 during the Great Depression, the mass and proportions were inspired by Winchester Cathedral before its remodeling in the 15th century. The public is welcome to stop in and take the campus’ self-guided walking tour that highlights notable onsite buildings.

 

The Abbey, a Tudor gothic-styled building was built in 1924 as a Catholic Monastery, was placed on the National Register of Historic buildings in 1983. Open daily for self-guided tours by donation, the Monastery’s bell tower still chimes hourly. The building is used for the business offices and is a popular wedding and retreat venue.

The now Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum served as the heart of El Paso County government from completion in 1903 until 1973. Designed by local architect August J. Smith in the Second Renaissance Revival style, the building exhibits distinct horizontal divisions, different window sizes and shapes. An ornate domed clock tower rises above the building, now home to the free museum.