the new aspen art museum by shigeru ban image courtesy aspen art museum



plans have been been approved for the new aspen art museum by shigeru ban architects, which will be his first US museum to be constructed and will offer 12,500 square feet of exhibition space, including multiple galleries; an exterior roof-deck sculpture garden; education classroom; bookstore and museum shop; café / restaurant; administration and staff space; and an art storage / preparation space.


the use of wood and glass elements within the design will provide a transparent structure that responds to and highlights aspen’s changing picturesque seasonal landscape. the new design will allow pedestrians and potential museum-goers the chance to experience art and AAM exhibitions before entering the building itself, simultaneously enjoying the AAM’s offerings of fine art and scenic surroundings. the museum’s uniquely inverted, ‘upside-down’ layout will present an upper level of the commercial aspects, complete with a public lobby, café, bookshop, and an outdoor, roof-deck sculpture area. it can be accessed by the public through a ten-foot wide external staircase which is shielded from the elements by a transparent screen composed of wooden ‘bricks.’ visitors will also be able to alternately access the upper level of the new facility by way of a large hydraulic elevator designed to mirror the manner in which aspen’s skiing visitors interact with the towns surrounding ski mountains. the upper gallery of the new facility will benefit from exquisite natural light as the floor of the roof-deck and top floor will each be made of glass. from the rooftop, visitors will enjoy spectacular views of aspen’s surrounding mountains.



shigeru ban: aspen art museum proposalinterior views of the café and galleries



shigeru ban states: ‘in any design I always strive for a unified relationship between the structure and its surroundings. the design forthe new aspen art museum is a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between aspen’s existing architecture and the surrounding beauty of the natural landscape. to do this, I have conceived of a ‘wood brick’ screen on the museum’s exterior surface, which is a contemporary reinterpretation designed to be in harmony with the historic palette present in aspen, and also invites engagement between artwork, the public, and the space itself.’



shigeru ban: aspen art museum proposal



project info:

total square footage: 30,000 square footage below grade: 10,000 square footage above grade: 20,000

three-story building above grade: main level & second story: exhibition, education, administration, art storage/art preparation spaces third story: lobby/roof deck sculpture garden/cafe/museum shop   features/amenities: 12,500 square feet of exhibition space public exterior roof deck sculpture garden