Pikes Peak Community College

Realization Mar 1, 2021



Downtown, Colorado Springs




Formerly the home of Colorado Springs’ longest running business, Gowdy Printcraft Press, this 9,600s.f. historic building offered up a treasure trove of challenges and opportunities. The industrial warehouse was converted into an arts building for Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) complete with an art gallery, dance studio, black box theater, and classroom space.

Creative Space for Growth

The design scope included a full gut and remodel of the interior, and minor improvements on the exterior. After years as a print shop, extensive abatement was performed to make the space healthy and free of heavy metals and asbestos for future occupants. With programmatic elements including a dance studio and theater, open space was critical. Structural modifications allowed the removal of existing columns to provide the most functional space possible.

The design objective for this building was to keep the historic industrial aesthetic, while adding warmth and identity as a PPCC creative space. A custom mural across the front facade is a pronouncement to the public that this building houses creatives. A new deck connects the interior with its urban setting, while a folding metal fin acts both as signage and protection from the elements. Small details such as the red painted steel window wraps connect the Gowdy building with its PPCC counterparts.

In the gallery, concrete floors and exposed ceiling structure contrast nicely with the bright white walls. This brings attention to both student and faculty artwork that is displayed within. Glass garage doors allow the space to be opened up to the lobby and the exterior deck so that visitors can flow freely throughout. Metal mesh grid ceiling allows for peeks of the historic bones on the main floor and exposed ductwork and piping maintains the industrial feel throughout. In the dance studio, clerestories and skylights bring natural light in, while the black walls make it possible it to be used in conjunction with the adjacent black box theater (separated by a moveable partition).

PPCC desired a space that was unlike their standard educational model. As a space for artists, dancers, and actors, it was important that the building provided freedom for expression and functionality for the user to perfect their craft. Our design was able to provide the spatial, acoustical, lighting, and materialistic qualities that the school needed to best provide an arts education.

Photographs by Richard Seldomridge