Inspired by an athlete springing into motion, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum exterior appears as four petal-like pieces spinning out from a central atrium.
Tasked with constructing the museum’s exterior, MG McGrath, sought to create a skin that matched architecture firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro’s vision of a building structure and overall exterior visual effect that encapsulated the passion, dedication and endurance of an Olympic athlete in perpetual motion.
To achieve this, a system of custom metal panels with integrated gutters will wrap the double-curved geometry of the façade.
Lorin anodized aluminum panels was selected to cover exterior walls, low-slope walls and roof, and the interior vestibule ceiling. The anodized aluminum panels were chosen for their durability, low cost, malleability, environmentally friendly qualities and uniform finish. It is also up to two-thirds lighter than other metals, such as stainless steel, which was originally considered. Less weight means less material is required for any given application, so the supporting structure no longer needed to be as expensive to hold up the anodized aluminum.
The clear anodized finish, on the 8,500 unique panels, ensured the skin retained its characteristic metallic quality. Such a finish provided directionality to the panel surface, aiding the illusion of a body poised to pounce like a discus thrower moments before releasing the disk.