Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO

637 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen
Colorado, United States
Phone: +1 970.925.8050
closed on: Mondays
Museum Type: Art
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The new Aspen Art Museum designed by Shigeru Ban with Jim Hodges’ installation With Liberty and Justice For All (A Work in Progress). Photo © Peter Feinzig 

The Aspen Art Museum is a non-collecting museum in Aspen, Colorado, committed to the promotion of international contemporary art.

The museum and its site
The museum, founded in 1979, is housed since 2014 in an iconic 33,000 square-foot building, designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, surrounded by the magnificent landscape of the Rocky mountains.

What to see at the Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum organizes remarkable temporary exhibitions, featuring the work by the most innovative contemporary artists, as well as workshops and educational programs for kids and adults, creative activities for families, happenings, talks and film screenings.

Services to the public
The museum building, fully accessible to people with disabilities, includes exhibition galleries, educational spaces, a rooftop sculpture garden, a panoramic terrace, a cafeteria, and a shop.

The architecture of Shigeru Ban’s new Aspen Art Museum

In Summer 2014 the Aspen Art Museum, one of the most interesting art institutions in the USA, opened its new home in Aspen, Colorado.

The Aspen Art Museum was founded in 1979 as a non-collecting institution aimed to present and promote the newest and most advanced international contemporary art tendencies.
In 2007, since the old spaces have become insufficient due to the increasing success, the AAM board decided to create a new home for the museum and selected Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to accomplish the task of designing its building.

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Photo © Michael Moran/OTTO 

Aspen Art Museum Shigeru Ban axonometric drawing

Axonometric view

Shigeru Ban, one of the most interesting contemporary architects and the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner, is renowned for his research on lightweight building materials like paper and wood as well as for his exemplary commitment in humanitarian architecture and disaster relief structures design.

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The exhibition “Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture“ featured at the Aspen Art Museum in 2014. photo © Michael Moran/OTTO 

For the new AAM home, Ban designed a building apparently very simple in its shape while extremely profound.
The museum architecture is indeed based on a carefully planned arrangement of transparent and semi-transparent layers, beginning from the woven envelope, which creates a diverse and fascinating set of views toward the museum interior from the outside and toward the spectacular surrounding mountain environment from the inside.

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Photos © Michael Moran/OTTO

The AAM parallelepiped, containing the reception area, exhibition galleries, an education space, a shop, a cafe, an on-site artist apartment, as well as service, storage and preparation spaces, is based on the combination of five main elements.

The Grand Staircase and the “Moving Room” elevator, along with being the main connections between the various building levels, are also spaces where the interaction between the different transparencies of the vertical layers provides the visitor a unique visual experience of both the building and its surrounding.

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photos © Michael Moran/OTTO 

The Wooden Roof Structure, with its articulated morphology, creates a sort of “interlayer” between the upper level and the exterior through which natural light softly enter the building from its top.

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Photos © Michael Moran/OTTO

The Wooden Screen is perhaps the signature of the building, it is a woven envelope filtering the sunlight coming from the outside and made of Prodema, a composite material made of paper and resin and coated with natural wood veneer. The interaction between the screen and the natural light creates impressive shade patterns in the building public spaces.



photos © Billy Farrell/

The “Walkable” Skylights. A roof deck and a rooftop sculpture garden further increase the visual relationship between the museum and its surroundings, the terrace is also equipped with skylights that provide natural lighting to the exhibition gallery underneath.


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top; photo © Derek Skalko
Middle, bottom, and cover: photos © Michael Moran/OTTO
All images courtesy of Aspen Art Museum

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