Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban Architects

The building stands on a corner plot in downtown Aspen and is wrapped in a wooden composite lattice.

ASPEN – The 2014 Pritker Prize winner, Shigeru Ban, has recently unveiled his latest project, the Aspen Art Museum. Located in the popular winter playground for the American elite, the institution itself functions on the kunsthalle principle: instead of having its own collection, it presents an ever-changing roster of the best in contemporary and modern art.

The compact, three-storey building stands on a corner plot in the town’s centre and strikes a unique presence, not least because of its façade, woven out of composite wooden strips. Beneath this lattice, a grand staircase running along the wholly-glazed east façade provides access to various exhibition spaces, and culminates on a public roof terrace overlooking the town and affording panoramic view over the surrounding Rocky Mountains.

Typical of Shigeru Ban’s work, the building combines an understated formal simplicity, attention to its context and appreciation of wooden structural canopies. ‘In designing the Aspen Art Museum, I wanted to create a site-specific sequence that took into account the mountain views and the building’s purpose as an art museum,’ says the architect, adding that the building can be experienced as if one were skiing: ‘You go up to the top of a mountain, enjoy the view, and then slide down.’

David X Prutting

David X Prutting

Derek Skalko

Photos Billy Farrell, Derek Skalko and David X Prutting

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