[ Editor’s Note: The following reader-submitted letter was left on archpaper.com in response to our critique of Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum (AN 05_10.15.2014_SW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email email@example.com. ]
Deja vu all over again. Your article is a thoughtful critical review. I add a few observations.
It is always interesting when the architect attempts to explain away results by alluding to the client not allowing him to do something, therefore something not so good was done. A knowledgeable client is always a great aid to a project, and unenlightened clients can thwart good ideas, and unambitious clients can have different agendas, but no architect is forced to do something bad. At worst, certain good ideas are not implemented, and when that happens the project design must be rethought so that the result is at least coherent.
There is a disturbing tendency these days (shades of Edward Durell Stone) to hide issues of irresolution in buildings by the application of a screen. In this case, it [Aspen Art Museum] fails at hiding the sins and robs the passerby of a sense of scale and what could be a richness of detail. As a result it reminds one of a wicker basket dropped over the top of something else. Moreover, the idea of wood being the only material which can relate to mountains boggles the minds of many, the great Swiss architects not the least of them.
The design of the roof space frame is interesting but there seems absent from the result any rational justification for clear span.
Museums are marvelous opportunities: a synthesis of light, systems, movement, and modulation of space.
Paradise Lost, once more.
Harry Wolf Architect