RED BRICK ARTS CENTER

PROGRAM: The Red Brick Center for the Arts is home to an eclectic mix of non-profit community arts organizations ranging from a public television station to an artist-in-residence program. Established in 1993, the 36,000 SF building was a former middle school built during the early 1940’s purchased by the City of Aspen and leased to the newly formed RBCA. As a community arts organization, its point of connection to Aspen is as host to lively art openings and a revolving artist-in-residence program. The existing building has a 250’ long internal hallway as gallery space for public exhibition of 2-D art, but lacks any public space suitable for gallery talks, sculpture exhibition or day-to-day hanging out. The existing structure is sited on an expansive lawn and maintains a somewhat aloof relationship to the street with little interior sense of the outdoors.

SITE: Located at the North edge of the City grid, the site is bound by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Given Institute to the North, and residential neighborhoods to the South, East and West. The site edge prior to the improvements was fuzzy and ill kept. Undifferentiated parking and pedestrian circulation cemented a generally negative public perception.

IMPROVEMENTS: A highly transparent ‘bookend’ addition and an outdoor Arts Plaza is sited along the Center’s 80 foot western edge. Site work includes widening Garmisch Street to accommodate the continuation of the south lawn’s curb, gutter and sidewalk. The Arts Plaza consists of two outdoor rooms along the new sidewalk. The entry side inflects toward downtown Aspen and creates a continuous ‘welcome mat’ that is literally pulled onto the facade and accommodates an outdoor sculpture base along the way.

CONCEPT:From a planning perspective, the West End improvements seek to re-identify the edges of the site in a series of design gestures that collectively create a topography intended to reinvigorate the relationship of the institution to its host - the City of Aspen. At the same time, the opportunity to create the Center’s first public spaces and have them actually connect to the
site became an obvious strategy. This reciprocity of interior and exterior design pressures informed the construction and detailing of the project and emphasized issues of transparency, layering, and continuity. Migration of screening materials across, over and through the envelope produces a layering of elements that largely create the enclosure itself with the intention of
expanding one’s experience of the terrain both inside and out. Representational concerns were understood as being secondary to, and generative from the vocabulary created to address those issues listed above. For example the vertical, west facing louvers can be read as a vestigial colonnade, (appropriate as a civic signifier), but are primarily a semi-transparent shading device layered to create façade depth and an engagement with the outdoors.

AIA Colorado citation Award 2009
AIA Colorado West honor Award 2008
published aspen sojourner magazine, (artistic addition), 2009

 

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ALTA SKI HOUSE
UR.2 HOUSE
MEADOWOOD HOUSE
INSIDE-OUT HOUSE
HORIZON HOUSE
GUEST HOUSE
BLUE MOON RANCH
NEAR FAR HOUSE

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PITKIN COUNTY LIBRARY
CARBONDALE LIBRARY
WAGNER PARK
RED BRICK ARTS CENTER
street FURNITURE

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