After winning the Pritzker Prize in 2014, the Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban completed work on a new art gallery in Aspen, Colorado.
The architect, expert on wood projects, paved the way to the use of new materials designing a new home for the Aspen Art Museum, the first permanent museum in America.
It is an area of 3,000 square metres covered by a facade of wooden panels, all woven together to form a sort of gigantic handmade basket.
The coating fabric is made of Prodema, a composite of resin and paper inserted inside wood veneer; this wraps around two sides to create a permeable facade that reflects the wooden structure of the roof.
The decision to use these materials was not taken only by the beauty that natural wood provides to any project or by the goal of obtaining an excellent protection against the sun; the main reason was the ability that these materials have in adapting to the choices of the designer.
Inside, the architect included six galleries, as well as a shop, a flat and the artist’s training centre. In total, the building offers more than triple the exhibition space of the museum’s previous structure. On the roof a garden was also designed with a café to offer unobstructed views of Ajax Mountain, Aspen’s main skiing destination.
« I placed the entrance foyer on the rooftop, » explained Ban « It’s like a skiing experience – you go up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view, then you come down again. »
Thus, a large glass lift, located in a northeastern corner, also acts as a « moving room » inside the building, connecting all the galleries.
The new building, opened to members during the weekend, will be open to the public on August 9th to celebrate it’s 35th anniversary of establishment.