Aspen, Colorado will soon have more than amazing ski slopes to attract visitors - they'll also have the work of internationally acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban, who is designing the new Aspen Art Museum. The museum was inspired by the surrounding ski slopes - visitors will walk up the stairs or take the escalator up to the top floor, admire the views from the rooftop decks and then come down through the exhibits - an experience similar to ascending a mountain and skiing down to the bottom. A giant wooden shade screen will cover the exterior of the building, while an abundance of skylights will allow daylight to filter into its interior.
Shigeru’s five key design elements for the building are the grand stair, the moving room, the wooden screen, the roof design, and the walkable skylight. The grand staircase supports circulation, but is also a dramatic design element that blends the exterior and interior and provides more space for exhibiting art. The moving room is a transparent elevator that provides an animated means of traveling throughout the building and maintains the connection with light and the outdoors.
The museum is covered on two sides with a wooden screen, which is a woven exterior that shields the interior from overheating, glare, and the elements and helps maintain the interior climate efficiently. The roof features a public deck and a sculpture garden. Walkable skylights above the main gallery provide the exhibition area with additional light. The museum will be moving to a centrally located site and increasing its footprint from 9,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft. Glass curtain walls on multiple sides direct natural daylight into the space, allowing visitors to admire the landscape from many different vantage points.
Museum officials broke ground on the project in August, and construction of the $30 million building is slated to begin next spring.