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How Cardboard King Shigeru Ban Designs an Art Museum

Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban often makes news for his small-scale, of-the-people kinds of projects: cardboard cathedrals for an earthquake-ravaged town, rain-resistant, eco-friendly huts, and quick-turn-around disaster relief housing, to name a few. While the Tokyo-based architect has built larger, more commercial projects before—innovative NYC condo buildings, for example—it's still nice to see his aesthetic translate to something as large as his recently completed 33,000-square-foot Aspen Art Museum, a woven box built with a façade made of paper and resin. "Everyone was intrigued by the quality and imagination of his buildings," the museum director told Architectural Digest. "When we actually met him and talked about his humanitarian projects, I think everyone was doubly intrigued."

"I wanted to open up the building to the houtside so visitors could appreciate the beauty of Aspen," Ban told AD. "I made the entrance foyer on the rooftop. It is like the experience of skiing—you go up to the top of the mountain, enjoy the view, and then slide down." Other notable design features? There's an indoor-outdoor main staircase just behind the building's woven "skin," as well as a rooftop garden proffering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

The museum, built in the center of downtown Aspen, officially opens to the public on Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.. Admission is free.

· Architect Shigeru Ban Designs a New Aspen Art Museum [Architectural Digest]
· The New Shigeru Ban-Designed Aspen Art Museum to Host 24-Hour Public Opening on August 9 [Bustler]
· All Shigeru Ban coverage [Curbed National]