You'd have to have been living under a rock to not have noticed the early-21st-century museum-building boom that's been going on in Colorado over the past couple of years. There's the Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum, the addition to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the incredible Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver. And that's not to mention what's yet to come: the Clyfford Still Museum, a new CU Art Museum and a new Colorado History Museum.
Now you can add the Aspen Art Museum to that list as well, with the announcement that the institution will build a 30,000-square-foot structure close to downtown, in the Zupancis-Galena site. The area is being turned into what planners refer to as a "civic campus" that will also include an expanded library, preserved historic buildings like the Pitkin County Courthouse, and offices for police, sheriff and city and county workers. The AAM has not announced a budget, although it has already raised $28 million; in that total are eleven gifts of over $1 million each. It is Aspen, after all.
Shigeru Ban Architects, an internationally renowned Japanese/American firm headed up by none other than Shigeru Ban (pictured), will design the new building, according to AAM director Heidi Zukerman Jacobson. Ban's partner is New York-based architect Dean Maltz, who will oversee the AAM project.
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Aspen Art Museum
SBA has made a huge splash recently, with the firm's work showing up in magazines around the world. The key component to this publicity has been SBA's brilliant conceptual epiphany, which could be called "green gone glam." The idea is to embrace "soft" recycling, which involves taking existing things in their original form and reusing them in a new way. For Ban, this means using cardboard carpet tubes to hold up the roof of a church in Japan, or stacking up shipping containers to be used as gallery spaces for the Nomadic Museum that was set up in New York, Santa Monica and Tokyo.
I wonder what SBA will use in Aspen — old Maseratis? We'll just have to wait and see.