New Website Features Aspen's "Modern" Architecture

Feb 27, 2014

The Koch Seminar Building is one of the buildings featured on the City of Aspen's new website. It highlights more than 70 modern properties built after World War Two.
Credit www.aspenmod.com

The City of Aspen launched a new website this week highlighting “modern era” local architecture. The 73 properties featured on the site were built post World War Two, mainly between the 1940s and 1970s. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

The mid-20th century was when Aspen went from being a quiet mountain town to an internationally known resort and the changes are reflected in the area’s architecture. Amy Simon is the Historic Preservation Officer with the City of Aspen.  

"It’s just really pretty amazing, I think by 1960 Walter Cronkite came here to help dedicate the new public library on Main Street. Fifteen years before the town had been in poverty after the war. It’s a substantial change to happen in 15 years, and these buildings help tell us how it happened," she says.

The website’s primary goal is to educate visitors about sculptures and properties such as the Tyrolean Lodge and Peapcke Auditorium. It also highlights architects like Herbert Bayer, Fritz Benedict and Tom Benton.

The City used a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to create the website. Beth Wiedower of the Trust says many modern era buildings have been demolished nationally. She says this group of historic structures is particularly vulnerable.

"Modern is one that we're particularly attentive to because it is one of the younger styles of historic architecture. In most cases it takes 40, 50, 60 years away from a period for the population to realize a particular design as being significant."

One of the featured architects on the site is Harry Weese, who designed the Given Institute. The building on Aspen’s West-end was demolished in 2011.

About half of the properties featured on the Aspen website are designated landmarks, which helps protect them from being destroyed. The City’s next project is to catalogue Aspen’s Victorian era buildings on a separate website.