Aspen Institute expansion defies Bayer’s ideals |

Aspen Institute expansion defies Bayer’s ideals

If the architect Herbert Bayer were alive today, he would say another building at the Aspen Institute is a crazy idea. “Das ist verrückt!” He would say put up more solar panels. Make solar panels a “gift to the community.” And add a big battery also to make the panels more effective. And while you are at it, do a major efficiency program on the rest of the buildings and replace gas furnaces with heat pumps. Take a good look at his work and you can see he was all about efficiency. And, especially, honesty.

But the new building was just approved. Never mind it doesn’t provide housing for its employees on site. Never mind that the neighborhood is “already overrun by the music school and Institute activities.” Never mind there will be “13 cars additional cars a day.” Never mind the building will not have parking spaces.

A former Aspen mayor (and former vice president at the Institute) captured the situation: “It is growth, there is no way around that. But this feels like the right kind of growth.” I built in Aspen for many years. I don’t remember seeing “the right kind” in any of the codes.

The building “will receive an expedited building permit … and waivers on … fees” because it is an “essential public facility.” Essential for whom?

The past is fine to know. Honoring someone long past doesn’t help them now. The future is our problem and we are not doing enough to have much of one.

Patrick Hunter


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User

Letter to the Editor

Chaos on Main Street

What kind of madness is it to remodel Main Street at Paepcke Park, getting rid of a designated turn lane and then reducing four lanes to three lanes to what, try and create total chaos…

See more