Paepcke Building to reopen in grand style on Sunday |

Paepcke Building to reopen in grand style on Sunday

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen Institute will show off the $11.4 million renovation of the Paepcke Building and celebrate its illustrious history with a free public gathering Sunday.

The event features building tours from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. A number of celebrations will be held throughout the day, starting with a 10 a.m. presentation by Steven Wickes titled, “Why Goethe? Why 1949? Why Aspen? – Walter Paepcke and the Birth of the Aspen Institute.” Wickes is director of the Institute’s Society of Fellows and an unofficial historian of the nonprofit.

Also at 10 a.m., the Aspen Historical Society History Players will present “A Briefly Complete History of Aspen.”

At 11:30 a.m., Gwen Chanzit of the Denver Art Museum will give a lecture called, “The Genius and Relevance of Herbert Bayer.”

Aspen Shortsfest will screen several films between 1 and 2:30 p.m. They are the comedies “Diplomacy,” “Whatever Turns You On” and “Glenn Owen Dodds”; animations “Western Spaghetti” and “Pigeon: Impossible”; dramas “The Six Dollar Fifty Man” and “Little Miss Eyeflap”; and the documentary “Nico’s Challenge.” The shorts are between 2 and 16 minutes.

The concluding events at 3:15 p.m. will be a live performance by Anna Deavere Smith honoring the Paepcke family and a presentation by Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson titled, “The Role of the Aspen Institute in the World Today.”

Despite the jammed lineup, the Walter Paepcke Memorial Building itself will be the focal point of the day. It was built in the early 1960s and dedicated in 1963. After 47 years it has undergone an interior renovation intended to take it into the 21st century.

The Institute staff says the building has always been special; now it’s smart, too. It will use 55 percent less energy than before. Efficiency improvements include a new roof, new insulation and double-pane windows. Water from a pond will be used with a ground-source heat pump in a geothermal system to reduce required electricity for heating and cooling.

Carbon dioxide sensors will gauge the number of people in a room and adjust the ventilation as necessary.

The auditorium was expanded by 60 seats to boost the capacity to 410. It was also brightened and retractable glass doors will allow in more fresh air and light.

State-of-the-art lighting, sound system and cinematic electronics were installed, and 57-inch monitors were installed in the lobby and outdoor courtyards to allow overflow crowds to catch the action.

The exterior of the community treasure was essentially untouched, maintaining the integrity of Bayer’s architecture and design.

All of Sunday’s events are free and open to the public.

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