Located on the corner of South Spring Street and East Hyman Avenue in Aspen’s downtown core, the new AAM is Shigeru Ban’s first permanent U.S. museum to be constructed. Ban’s vision for the new AAM is based on transparency and open view planes—inviting those outside to engage with the building’s interior, and providing those inside the opportunity to see their exterior surroundings.
The main entrance is located on the north side of the building along East Hyman Avenue, which allows access to the reception area and two ground-floor galleries. From there, visitors may choose their path through museum spaces—ascending to upper levels either via Ban’s Moving Room glass elevator in the northeast corner, or the Grand Stair on the east side. The Grand Stair—a three-level passageway between the building’s woven exterior screen and its interior structure—is intersected by a glass wall dividing it into a ten-foot-wide exterior space and a six-foot-wide interior space.
The unique passage allows for the natural blending of outdoor and indoor spaces, and will also feature mobile pedestals for exhibiting art. The exterior Woven Wood Screen is made of the composite material Prodema—an amalgam of paper and resin encased within a dual-sided wood veneer. From the roof-deck sculpture garden, visitors will enjoy unparalleled vistas of Aspen’s environment and the only unobstructed public rooftop view of Ajax Mountain. The roof deck will also be an activated exhibition and event space featuring the café, So, a bar, and an outdoor screening space.
Other new AAM amenities include an education space, the AAM shop/bookstore, and an on-site artist apartment, as well as art storage and preparation spaces. The AAM Shop is collaborating with New York’s iconic nonprofit art bookseller Printed Matter to feature artist-produced titles alongside its own AAM imprint publications, as well as featuring a number of unique and collectible artist-edition offerings.
Architects: Shigeru Ban Architects
Photographs: Michael Moran / OTTO, Derek Skalko