Walking & Art Guide
"The connection between the Bauhaus and a ski town is a unique correlation that isn't replicated anywhere else in any ski town in the world period."
- Lisa Ballinger, Acting Director of the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies
In the early 1950s, Walter Paepcke, the founder of The Aspen Institute, commissioned the renowned Bauhaus architect and artist, Herbert Bayer, to transform forty acres of farmland into a secluded destination where business executives and other leaders could take a step back from their hurried lives and careers to speak candidly and reflect upon a variety of important issues they faced – uninterrupted amidst the tranquil Aspen landscape. Building upon this vision, Bayer sought to create a unified spirit, the mind could thrive, and art could serve both aesthetic and functional purposes. The Bauhaus school taught that environment, culture, and community should not merely exist alongside each
Between 1953 and 1973, Austrian-born Bayer helped create the Aspen Institute’s original grounds. He wove outdoor walkways through his landscape architecture (known as “earthworks”) to connect the seminar rooms to the residential complex, reminding the visitor of his or her relationship with nature, mind, and body. The property is the epitome of an all-inclusive Bauhaus environment. The grounds are not only rich with architecture and outdoor sculptures; there is also a growing collection of artwork, found inside every building. Although the paintings, sculptures, photographs, and tapestries are too numerous to catalogue in this pamphlet, we still recommend that you step inside a few of the buildings and view the indoor artwork as well. There are also regular tours of the artworks on campus. Please inquire at the front desk.
Walking & Art Tour
1 Beottcher Seminar Building
This Bayer-designed building – along with its two smaller buildings, or ‘pods’ connected by a walkway – is the location of three conference rooms, as well as several offices. Inside, International Design Conference in Aspen posters are on display, as well as a notable collection of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, which were taken during his time as an Artist-in-residence at the Institute in 1971.
2 Japanese Contemplative Garden: “Sage Mountain Sky”
The Contemplative Garden provides the property with a pleasant landscaping feature quite different from Bayer’s earthworks
3 Harris Concert Hall
Harris Concert Hall is a year-round performance facility for the Aspen Music Festival and School. Ticket offices are located in this building.
4 Benedict Music Tent
The Benedict Music Tent is the summer performance facility for the Aspen Music Festival and School. Eero Saarinen designed the first tent for the Goetche Bicentennial in 1949. The current tent was erected in 2000 and designed by architect Harry Teague. It seats 2,050 people.
Herbert Bayer hand-selected the Carrara marble from Central Italy for this monumental seven-piece geometric sculpture. Anaconda was first installed in the foyer of Atlantic Richfield’s Anaconda building in Denver, Colorado in 1978. The Aspen Institute acquired the sculpture from the Denver Art Museum in 2017. This is the first time Anaconda has been exhibited since 1995.
6 The Walter Paul Paepcke Memorial Building
Originally designed by Bayer in 1962, and completely renovated in 2010. It currently serves as the Institute’s main building, containing the front desk, a 400-seat auditorium, library, gallery and the majority of the Aspen Institute’s staff offices.
7 Paepcke Gallery
The Walter Paul Paepcke Memorial building also houses the Paepcke Gallery which displays intimate exhibitions of ‘Herbert Bayer and his Circle’ that change annually.
8 William E. Mayer Courtyard
This small courtyard is used extensively in the summer and fall as an outdoor gathering space. It was named in honor of William E. Mayer, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees. A bust of the Institute’s second president, Robert O. Anderson, is located near the walkway, outside the courtyard’s walls.
9 David H. Koch Seminar Building
Completed in 1953, this was the first building on the property. Bayer designed the hexagonally shaped seminar rooms to accommodate 6-sided discussion tables. The lobby features a collection of black and white photography by Ferenc Berko, former Institute photographer, dating back to the Institute’s ground-breaking
10 Sgraffito Wall
Made by Herbert Bayer in 1953, using a technique Bayer learned from Wassily Kandinsky in the Bauhaus, this outdoor mural (located on the south side of the Koch building) shows Bayer’s fascination with the shifts and undulations of the earth's surface. A photograph of the work in progress is seen inside the Koch Seminar Building
11 Bust of Mortimer J. Adler
Sculpted by Maude Hutchins in 1934, this work predates most of the art on the grounds. Adler was a philosopher and seminar moderator who played an integral role in the Institute’s development
12 Elizabeth Paepcke Memorial Wildflower Garden
Elizabeth Paepcke, the wife of the Institute’s founder and a faithful supporter, had always maintained a beautiful flower garden in the yard of her Aspen home. In 1995, the Paepckes’ daughters provided the Institute with the initial funding to create a wildflower garden near the Institute’s oldest building in memory of their mother.
13 Geodesic Dome
Buckminster Fuller’s 36 foot-diameter dome was designed for the 1952 International Design Conference and later used as a cover for the Aspen Meadows pool. This unique climate controlled device was fitted with a semi-spherical canvas, later re-canvased and restored in 2012.
14 Greenwald Pavilion
This outdoor pavilion is set up for special event use in the summer and can seat 700 people.
15 Anderson Park
Designed in 1973, Anderson Park was one of Bayer’s final creations on campus. It was dedicated in honor of the Institute’s second President, Robert O. Anderson. Bayer intended for visitors to interact with the mounds; he invited people to climb, play, sit, meditate or just relax on the elevated berms. Anderson Park is a special venue for weddings and events.
16 Amy’s Meadow
Originally used as a horse-racing track, this designated Open Space is covered with sage and wildflowers with traces of the original track remaining. In 2016, a conservation easement was placed on this parcel to ensure it remains undeveloped in perpetuity, and named in honor of former Institute Executive Vice President Amy Margerum Berg.
17 Big Dipper
This piece, completed in 1973, is the work of German-born, Mexican sculptor Mathias Goeritz. From a bird’s eye view, these star-shaped pillars form the constellation of the Big Dipper. As with the real constellation, if one traces an imaginary line between the two stars furthest from the handle (the two tallest pillars) and follows it out into the night sky, that line points to the North Star.
The work of the British sculptor John Robinson, Intuition consists of three stainless steel interlocking triangles mounted on top of river rock.
19 The Residential Complex: Crown, Arco, Malott, Whittemore, Catta, Kresge, Wachner and Wexner
The guest suites at the Aspen Meadows Resort are located in six separate buildings. Bayer designed the Bauhaus-inspired residential complex in 1954 Building and Health Center. The first remodel was completed in the early 1990s. The project succeeded in preserving this landmark, as the buildings remain faithful to the original blueprints and Bauhaus style. The interiors of the guest suites were renovated in 2008 and 2015.
20 The Hines Seminar Room
In 2010 the Kresge Building’s downstairs conference room was renovated and named the Hines Seminar room. It is also used as an art gallery.
21 Marble Garden
With the assistance of Elizabeth Paepcke, Bayer created this garden in 1955 using nineteen pieces of marble reclaimed from Marble, Colorado, a quarry near Aspen. The garden offers harmonious perspectives of shadow patterns and asymmetric spatial relationships.
22 The Grass Mound
Herbert Bayer’s Grass Mound was completed in 1955. Notably, this piece is one of the first earthworks ever made, predating other earthwork artists by at least ten years.
23 Doerr-Hosier Center
Built in 2007 and designed by architect Jeff Berkus, the Doerr-Hosier Center combines elements of modernism with inspiration from the natural world and Eastern philosophy and design. The building offers a large event space for 300 people, terraces, seminar rooms, a full catering kitchen, the Resnick Art Gallery, Isaacson Room and Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River.
24 The Resnick Gallery and Isaacson Room
Downstairs in the Doerr-Hosier building is the Resnick Gallery and Isaacson Room, which are dedicated to exhibiting the work of Herbert Bayer. The gallery also features a permanent sandstone artwork by Andy Goldsworthy.
25 Stone River
Built in 2007 in collaboration with architect Jeff Berkus, renowned British artist Andy Goldsworthy’s red sandstone, serpentine wall winds into and through the Doerr-Hosier Center. Goldsworthy combined sandstone chosen from areas of conflict around the world -- as well as local Colorado sandstone -- to make a wall of unity, rather than division.
26 Resnick-Malek Health Center
The Health Center and the large “HC” mural are the work of Bayer. Constructed in 1955, the Health Center contains a fitness center, gymnasium, lap pool, change rooms, saunas and hot tub. The Health Club is available to members and hotel guests.
27 Walter Isaacson Center
The Reception Center was designed by Herbert Bayer and opened in 1958. Renovated in 2018, it is dedicated to Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute from 2003 to 2018. This is the welcome center for the Aspen Meadows Resort and is home to the hotel’s front desk, Hefner Lounge, Limeslicer’s Bar, Plato’s Restaurant and Davis Commons Restaurant, plus several outdoor patios.
28 Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
The Reception Center was expanded in 2018 to accommodate additional indoor seating (The Pavilion) as well as the Bren and Mel Simon Terrace. There are several outdoor patios surrounding the Pavilion.
Finished in 1957, this Bayer piece was originally placed near the edge of the swimming pool and could manipulate wind flow and sunlight/shade to the pool as a cranking device manually rotated the seven aluminum louvers. Bayer designed the Kaleidoscreen so that it would function both practically and aesthetically.
30 Walking Trail to Castle Creek/Roaring Fork River
This trail was created along the river after the City of Aspen acquired the property as conservation space. The trail connects via a bridge to the Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River.
31 The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies
Built in 2021, The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies is an 8,000 sq. ft., two-story, museum-grade facility that preserves the art, legacy, and expanded contexts of artist/designer Herbert Bayer (1900–1985).