Aspen now has a lofty structure (besides its exalted Rocky Mountains) about which to wax poetic. Shigeru Ban’s new building to house the holdings of the 35 year-old Aspen Art Museum opened to the public last week, giving residents of the ski resort their maiden view of the Pritzker Prize winner’s first museum commission on American soil. Encompassing nearly ten-thousand square feet and six galleries, the museum’s most distinctive feature is its grid of composite wooden cladding, a latticework of woven strips that offers a visual counterpoint to the glass and steel edifice that resides within.
Ban, winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, his profession’s highest honor, has long been lauded for his commitment to inventive temporary housing solutions and his application of unexpected building materials (his Cardboard Cathedral being but one example). Fittingly, in choosing Prodema for the bulding’s skin, a wood paneling partially comprised of paper, Ban has once more tapped into his affinity for organic materials applied in unconventional ways. Though, it’s not the only unexpected detail awaiting visitors: “I made the entrance foyer on the rooftop,” he explains, “It is like the experience of skiing — you go up to the top of a mountain, enjoy the view, and then slide down.”Images: Inhabit