Nothing Bauhaus about new Aspen city offices |

Nothing Bauhaus about new Aspen city offices

The office space that the city of Aspen leases behind Hotel Jerome was just listed for sale, serving as a painful reminder of the opportunity council passed on. The city has had the option to purchase the space since 2016. They spent $2 million to build out the offices. Buying the property would have meant not wasting the $2 million, not having to move, not developing new space that requires housing mitigation, and it would have saved the community money versus building new space.

Instead, council was determined to move that office space literally across the street into their new office building, which has resulted in a monstrous 47-foot-tall building that was not legitimately mitigated for.

The irony that we now live in a world where you don’t need to be in an office, much less in the same building as other departments, is a tough pill to swallow. Was the trade-off to have as many departments under one roof worth the question that every developer will ask when they walk into that building, “Why are you allowed to build a 47-foot tall building and I can only build 28 feet?”

As the building takes shape, I’m also reminded of a council member’s comment that the architecture is Bauhaus. Take the Historical Society’s excellent Bauhaus tour and you’ll quickly learn that there’s nothing Bauhaus about the new city offices architecture.

The masonry is going up on the west side of the building and it looks like the stone on a suburban mall. According to the architect’s spec, it’s San Miguel / Santa Fe Blend veneer stone. There’s not a single historic building or Bauhaus structure in our town that uses either San Miguel or Santa Fe veneer stone. The only thing more unfortunate and out of place than the building itself is the council’s most recent hasty decision to make the office building our city hall.

Peter Grenney



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