Work began on the Aspen Art Museum in 2005, construction kicked off in 2012, and now the museum is complete and ready for the public. The museum is hosting private showings this week, but come Saturday, August 9th, it will be open to the public for free. The museum is being moved from the old Holy Cross Power Plant building on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, and its size will increase from 9,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft with 12,500 sq ft devoted to showing art. The museum does not have a collection of its own, but it specializes in traveling exhibitions and postwar and contemporary art. Besides shows, the museum also regularly holds workshops for children and adults, lectures and a variety of other events. The new museum also features a black box theater for performances.
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Shigeru Ban is responsible for the design of the new museum, which is located in the downtown area of Aspen. The project features five key design elements: a grand stair, a moving room, a wooden screen, the roof design, and a walkable skylight. Visitors to the museum first ascend the grand stair up to the rooftop deck for views of town and the surrounding mountains before descending down into the exhibition space. This act is very similar to how skiers and snowboarders take ski lifts up to the top of a mountain and then ride down. Daylighting plays a major role in the building’s plan, as skylights pull light into the building from the rooftop. The exterior is clad in glass and covered in a woven facade to protect the interior from overheating and glare.
If you’re in or around Aspen, be sure to hit up the opening celebration from August 9th at 5pm to August 10th at 5 pm. See the full lineup of activities here.
Images ©Aspen Art Museum and Shigeru Ban Architects