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By Ali Margo | February 10, 2017 | Culture
Typical of Aspen's institutions, the recently completed Bucksbaum campus integrates into town, the mountains, the Aspen sensibility.
At the Bucksbaum Campus, home to AMFS and Aspen Country Day School, the Harry Teague Pavilion cantilevers over one of three campus ponds— congruent with the treeline above.
On a crisp afternoon, the squeals of middle-schoolers kicking a ball outside Hurst Hall echo throughout Aspen’s Mathew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Campus. The waning light sparkles off the pond where three canoes are lined up on the shore. A waterfall rolling from the roof of the cantilevered Harry Teague Pavilion evokes a sense of calm. It’s like a scene come to life from the pages of an Eddie Bauer catalog. But this is real life for Aspen Country Day School students, and who can blame them for the impulse to frolic in their idyllic setting—the newly completed, Harry Teague–designed, eight-years-in-the-making, all-kinds-of-awards-winning, $75 million Bucksbaum Campus?
Nestled between the steep wooded hillsides and the burbling sounds of Castle Creek, with snowcapped peaks in the distance, it begs for an “only in Aspen” hashtag. The facility is used by the renowned Aspen Music Festival and School in the summer and as a private day school for pre-K through eighth grade during the school year. The final phase of the campus’s long-awaited face-lift was completed last spring and includes four new buildings that had to address numerous challenges: a building footprint wedged on the floor of a narrow river valley beneath a steep mountainside; a natural setting that demanded a high standard for design that would enhance and not detract from the site; and a dual-use campus that had to accommodate the needs of two very different types of students—aspiring young musicians and Aspen’s schoolchildren.
What resulted is a living work of art: Buildings, while modern, integrate the mountain surroundings with details like earth-toned fibrous cement designed to look like wood, angular lines reminiscent of craggy peaks, and a mix of striated material intended to reflect the surrounding layers of rock. Facilities, while built for the technical acoustics of classical musicians, also accommodate learning and exploration in children. It’s hard to believe that so many elements—music, culture, nature, architecture, art, education, growth—can occur both inside and outside these walls. But that’s precisely where the Aspen Idea of balancing mind, body, and spirit continues to thrive— and where it continues to be taught to Aspen’s future generations
PHOTOGRAPHY © ALEX IRVIN, COURTESY HARRY TEAGUE ARCHITECTS