The Walter Paepcke Memorial Auditorium was designed by Bauhaus-trained architect Herbert Bayer and completed in 1962. It houses the Aspen Institute’s administrative offices and their primary presentation venue for guest speakers, panels, music, and film. The building incorporates a lecture/performance space with seating for 350 and conference rooms. The building’s systems, finishes, and layout were largely untouched since its construction, was without adequate technology, and its walls, roof, doors and windows lacked the environmental performance of present-day construction. As is common for buildings of this era, the mechanical systems had exceeded their usual life expectancy, and the support areas were largely inaccessible for persons with disabilities.
Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC designed the renovations and expansion to bring the building into the 21st century, providing state-of-the-art technical/performance systems and interconnectivity with other Institute buildings for simulcasting of events. Full accessibility for people with disabilities was our design goal, along with expanded seating for 400, envelope enhancements, new lighting, and new interior finishes and furniture. A high level of sustainability was achieved through the new mechanical and electrical systems, new fenestration, and materials selection. A newly designed geothermal pond provides heating and cooling for the building systems.