Letter: Art museum will lift Aspen’s culture

Art museum will lift Aspen’s culture

Some of the reactions regarding the new Aspen Art Museum building are nourished by passion at the expense of understanding. One of the structure’s key features is a roof terrace fitted with rest rooms, accessible to the general public and divorced from any need to visit the galleries. Any tourist or local can use this amenity for his or her enjoyment, have a cup of coffee or just hang out. A smaller building footprint would have impaired its utility.

Regarding its elevation, for a roof deck to be functional it needs to be at least as high as the surrounding roofs. Another possibility — this is speculative, but there is currently review of the Aspen building code which may result in more flexibility for development. We may, within the foreseeable future, see buildings exceeding the museums height.

The building’s façade was mandated by the city to be either wood or stone. The architect’s choice — woven wood panels with the open squares gradually increasing in size from the bottom to the top — is an elegant solution and maintains a light and airy feel to the interior.

To quote John Ruskin Builders, just build without much distinction. Good architecture requires sacrifice. On a cost benefits analysis, It seems reasonable to assert that the building’s flaws are substantially offset by its benefits.

This structure is the first building in downtown Aspen, in perhaps 120 years, that is not purposed for commerce or lodging — but for culture. Like the Wheeler then, it is funded now without the taxpayers’ purse.


Stefan Edlis