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Contested identities, contested building: planning for a glocal future


Shelby, J and Lindsay, G and Derr, C, Contested identities, contested building: planning for a glocal future, ArchNet-IJAR, 16, (3) pp. 671-687. ISSN 2631-6862 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/ARCH-09-2021-0257



Iconic buildings, especially museums, are often enrolled in creating an identity for cities, yet cities and museums have been sometimes uneasy partners in using architecture to shape city identity. This paper examines the negotiations of place identity amid the conflicting influences of global design trends and local cultural nostalgia through the case of a single development in Aspen, Colorado.


In this case study, using discourse analysis and grounded theory methods, the authors analyzed interviews, planning documents and critical opinions in the press to reveal the ways in which complex identities and contradictory planning directives shape a single building in a hyper-glocal Western town.


This analysis presents a place with complex and at times conflicting identities: residents have intense local concerns in parallel with global allegiances. The Aspen Art Museum building by Shigeru Ban similarly reflects a complex and contradictory identity with its bold design which confronted notions of local identity expressed in the built environment. Despite engaged citizenry and carefully crafted planning directives, the resulting design did not reflect locally produced culture but instead revealed the influence of international capital in the urban fabric.


This study examines the tension between hyper-local concerns and international status enacted on a single site in a small yet metropolitan place in the American West offering insights regarding the emplacement of buildings and the subsequent impacts on a place. As cities and institutions move beyond placeless iconic architecture, architecture and urban planning practice will need to adapt to the new paradigm where buildings can be at once global yet also local, drawing on innovative design practices and local culture in the construction of place.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:place identity, design guidelines, rural towns, star architecture, Shigeru Ban
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural design
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in built environment and design
UTAS Author:Lindsay, G (Dr Georgia Lindsay)
ID Code:149029
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Architecture and Design
Deposited On:2022-03-02
Last Modified:2022-12-15

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