Shigeru Ban, whose prefab shed for Artek fetched just over $600,000 last month at Sotheby’s, is heading west. The Aspen Art Museum (AAM) has chosen Shigeru Ban Architects (SBA) to design a new 30,000 square-foot facility for the museum, which has operated since 1979 out of a converted hydroelectric plant (pictured at left and topping out at 7,000 square feet) and is now in expansion mode. SBA was the unanimous choice of a selection committee chaired by Frances Dittmer, the secretary of AAM’s Board of Trustees. “His designs show a profound sensitivity in creating spaces that resonate with both elegance and purpose in relationship to their environs and the environment itself,” said Dittmer in a press release. “And his visionary choices of materials and their inspired uses infuse each project with a unique presence and balance in relation to their surroundings.”
While details on the new facility’s design have not been released, the plan calls for more than 13,000 square feet of curatorial and exhibition space, including multiple gallery spaces and a rooftop sculpture garden, a classroom, a museum shop, and a restaurant, as well as administrative and storage/preparation space. Focused on contemporary art, the AAM operates as a kunsthalle and therefore does not have a collection of its own. That hasn’t stopped donors from committing $28 million and counting to the new building as part of the five-year expansion extravaganza, which is fully funded by museum donors. Aspen doesn’t mess around—they have been known to commission high-profile artists to create work that is printed on lift tickets, which makes their $90-per-day price go down a little easier.