The Aspen Art Museum, Shigeru Ban's first museum in the U.S., is designed to be part–environmental center, part–ski lift.
The $45 million structure, currently under construction in downtown Aspen, is emblematic of post-recession restraint. “Museums have to be very practical,” Ban says. “They can’t just be sculpture.” And in keeping with that ethos, the architect has delivered a simple three-story structure free of tight angles, ovoid shapes, or curving walls. This includes half a dozen galleries, an artist residency area, education spaces, and conservation studios, all told occupying a total 33,000 square feet. The galleries are large and column-free, with flexible partition walls capable of accommodating large-scale sculpture and installation. The rooftop garden functions as entrance hall, public gathering area, and outdoor projection space. “The program was so precise,” Ban says. “There was no space to waste.”
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