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Aspen Art Museum



For thirty-three years, the former Hunter Creek Power Plant successfully served as a home for the Aspen Art Museum. The institution fostered a program of art, dialogue, and creativity that grew into a major cultural institution serving Aspen, the Roaring Fork Valley, the region, and the world.

After 2005, the museum saw a 200 percent increase in budget, number of students served, and annual visitors. A long-standing strategic goal for the AAM—the expansion of its facility and relocation to the downtown Aspen core—became a necessitated reality to meet the ongoing demand for services to the community.

With the unanimous support of the AAM Board of Trustees, the initial fundraising success, the identification of Shigeru Ban as design architect, and the August 2011 acquisition of property at the corner of Spring Street and Hyman Avenue in Aspen, the AAM commenced construction in fall 2012 of a building appropriate for the production, presentation, and experience of art. The new Aspen Art Museum is 100 percent privately funded, and under the leadership of the AAM New Building Committee, was completed in summer 2014.


Space for Art
Total Exhibition Space = 17,500 sq. ft.
Total Museum Space = 33,000 sq. ft.

Learn All Year
Year-round Workshops

Affordable Attraction
Free Admission

Built Green
Environmentally Sustainable

Amazing Views
Only Public Rooftop View of Aspen Mountain

Architectural Landmark
Designed by 2014 Pritzker Prize–winning Architect Shigeru Ban

More for Families
Activities & Workshops for All Ages

Free Events
Films, Lectures, & Performances
Black Box Theater & Roof-Deck Screenings

Architectural Features
- Grand Stair
- Moving Glass Room Elevator
- Woven Wood Screen
- Wooden Roof Truss
- Walkable Skylights

Woven Wood Screen
The museum’s screen is made of a composite material called Prodema—a dual-sided wood veneer with a substructure of an amalgam of paper and resin.

Architect: Shigeru Ban

The recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to architecture and design, Shigeru Ban (b. 1957) is widely respected for his innovative approaches to environmentally sound architecture and for his devotion to humanitarian efforts in the wake of devastating natural and manmade disasters. The Aspen Art Museum is the first permanent museum to be constructed by Ban in the US.

Ban’s nearly fifty awards prior to designing the AAM include the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2014); a Royal Institute of British Architects Award for his Centre Pompidou-Metz museum in Metz, France (2012); the Auguste Perret Prize of the International Union of Architects (2011); and the Architecture Institute of Japan’s Grand Prize (2009) for his Nicolas G. Hayek Center, the new headquarters for Swatch Group Japan. In 2010, he was awarded membership into France’s Order of Arts and Letters, followed by an invitation to the National Order of Merit in 2011. Ban has received several honorary degrees and fellowships, including Doctorates at Amherst College and the Technical University of Munich and fellowships from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the American Institute of Architects. In 2001, Time magazine named him “Innovator of the Year.”

Ban’s relief projects include housing solutions for residents of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and temporary housing for victims of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines, as well as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Shigeru Ban Architects also developed a cardboard cathedral for the city of Christchurch following the February 2011 earthquake in New Zealand. Ban collaborated with professors and students in the Dominican Republic to build one hundred shelters made of paper tubes and local materials for victims of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January 2010. Ban offered his services to the United Nations in aid of the victims of the 1999 civil war in Rwanda, and he designed and implemented temporary shelters for victims of Kobe, Japan’s 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake.

Referring to Ban as “The Accidental Environmentalist,” New York Times chief art critic and columnist Michael Kimmelman described him as “an heir to Buckminster Fuller and Oscar Niemeyer, to Japanese traditional architecture and to Alvar Aalto.” “He is an old-school Modernist with a poet’s touch,” Kimmelman added, “and an engineer’s inventiveness.” Regarding his design for the new building, Ban explained: “In any design, I always strive for a unified relationship between the structure and its surroundings. The design for the new AAM is a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between Aspen’s existing architecture and the surrounding beauty of the natural landscape.”

Ban attended the Southern California Institute of Architecture and later the Cooper Union School of Architecture. In 1985, he opened Shigeru Ban Architects.

Project Timeline

December 2005
First gift to build the new Aspen Art Museum received.

June 2007
Architect Selection Committee appointed and selec­tion process commenced.

Fall 2007
Shigeru Ban unan­i­mously selected by the Architect Selection Committee to design the new Aspen Art Museum.

2008/Early 2009
Preliminary con­cep­tual design and plan­ning of the new building.

January 2011
$20,000,000 endow­ment goal reached.

August 16, 2011
Groundbreaking on “Aspen’s Day.”

October 2012
Construction com­menced.

Winter 2012/Spring 2013
Foun­da­tion work completed.

Summer 2013
Concrete struc­ture completed.

Winter 2013/Spring 2014
Roof and exte­rior walls completed.

Summer 2014
Interior com­pleted.
Exterior paved areas com­pleted.

The new Aspen Art Museum opens to the public.