Marble Garden Restoration Wins 2022 Aspen Historic Preservation Award

City honors sculpture restoration on Aspen Institute campus for ‘outstanding contribution to historic preservation’

The creative team that recently restored Herbert Bayer’s iconic Marble Garden outdoor sculptural installation was awarded the 2022 Best Historical Preservation Project Award by the City of Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Led by Design Workshop, the conservation team cleaned, conserved, and restored to Bayer’s artistic intent and its original condition. The project ensures that the 1955 sculpture will remain an attraction to Aspen Institute campus for generations to come.

For the achievement, the commission honored Design Workshop (Richard Shaw and Margaret Plumb), the Aspen Institute (Lissa Ballinger, Cristal Logan and Katie Carlsen), GF Woods Contractors (Greg Woods) and WJE Conservation (Michael Ford and Nicole Declet).

The outdoor work is situated on the Institute’s historic Aspen Meadows campus, not far from the new Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, and adjacent to a series of site-specific earthworks and sculptures Bayer created throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Bayer sourced the titular stone for Marble Garden from the historic Yule Marble Quarry—a legendary Colorado quarry known for the luminous white stone used in the exterior of the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Accompanied by Institute progenitor Elizabeth Paepcke, Bayer selected 21 discarded pieces of Yule Marble to create the site-specific composition.

The resulting Marble Garden is comprised of nearly two dozen massive marble pieces rendered in various geometric shapes—cylinders, rectangles, cubes, triangles, broken columns, and arches—all arranged on a gridded 36-by-36-foot concrete platform. Through a balance of natural imperfection and geometrical experimentation, the arrangement creates an interplay of light and shadow, solid and void, man-made and natural form. 

Owing in part to its references to the marble sculptures of antiquity, Bayer’s garden has served for decades as a site for the staging of classical Greek performances. In 1996, the City of Aspen designated Marble Garden, along with other Bayer creations on the Aspen Meadows campus, a historic landmark site.


To visit Marble Garden head towards the Walter Isaacson Reception Building on Meadows Road HERE. You can’t miss the Yule marble and the fountain.