Aspen council agrees to second look on city office building design

A view of the new city office building at Rio Grande Place and Galena Plaza.
Courtesy rendering

A majority of Aspen City Council has agreed to allow a small group of concerned citizens to present design ideas for the new municipal office building at Rio Grande Place.

Former mayor Bill Stirling and local architect Harry Teague asked council on Monday to let them present some ideas on how to let the building better connect Rio Grande Park and the Roaring Fork River and the urban core.

As it is designed now, the building could create a walled-off feeling between two important areas of town, they said.

“We come with the best of intentions,” Stirling told council.

Teague said they are not criticizing the current architectural design, which went was created by local architect Charles Cunniffe according to the city’s criteria.

“We are coming from a positive point of view,” he said, adding it’s about creating an iconic building.

Mayor Steve Skadron did not support a relook at the building’s design because it sets a bad precedent and opens up the door for others to keep pushing for changes.

“I don’t know where it ends,” he said.

Councilwoman Ann Mullins said she is all for taking another look, as long as the design ideas don’t veer too far from what was laid out in the land use ordinance approving the building.

“I’m happy to enter into a public discussion,” she said. “It’s reinforcing a good idea.”

Fellow council members Ward Hauenstein and Bert Myrin also were in favor of hearing new ideas. Councilman Adam Frisch was not present.

Teague and Stirling agreed to make a presentation on April 9 at 4 p.m. in a council work session.