Popular Architectural Styles in Aspen

Popular Architectural Styles in Aspen

Aspen is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. From traditional ski-lodge-style homes to sleek and modern designs, there's something for everyone. If you're thinking about buying a home here, read on for a look at some of the most popular architectural styles in Aspen luxury homes. So whether you're dreaming of a rustic mountaintop retreat or a chic city pad, here is what's trending in Aspen architecture!


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The Bauhaus/International architectural style was hugely influential in Aspen during the period between 1928 and 1960. Characterized by its simple geometric forms, both in plan and elevation, this style was particularly well suited to the dramatic landscape of Aspen. Flat roofs, minimal detail, and a focus on long, low horizontal lines gave these buildings a streamlined look that reflected their modern aesthetic.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Bauhaus/International style also had strong connections to nature, incorporating elements like courtyards and wall extensions that connected buildings to the natural setting. Furthermore, its emphasis on using manufactured materials and standardized construction techniques made it a practical choice for Aspen's growing ski resort community. Overall, this architectural style played an important role in shaping the look and feel of Aspen over many decades and continues to be an important influence on contemporary architecture in the area today.

Carpenter Gothic

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The Carpenter Gothic architectural style originated in the late 1800s during rapid industrialization and urbanization. Characterized by its steeply pitched roof, central cross gables over the door, clapboard siding, and decorative bargeboard along the eaves of main gables and dormers, this style was used to create grand dwellings that reflected the affluence of their owners. In addition to these key features, Carpenter Gothic structures often had two-over-two double-hung sash windows, bay windows and lancet windows, elaborate porch railings, and square posts enhanced with intricate cut-out boards. This style is still admired for its beauty and gracefulness, making it an enduring embodiment of American craftsmanship and artistry.


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The Chalet architectural style is a distinctly Swiss-inspired style that first emerged in the mid-20th century. Characterized by its large, singular roof form and deep overhangs, this style is known for its emphasis on decorative details such as cutouts and fretwork bargeboards. Additionally, the wide porch or balcony that runs along the side of the building is a hallmark feature, as are the many decorative elements, such as balustrades with cut-out shapes. With its rectangular footprint and minimal openings, the stucco ground floor is also a defining characteristic. Aspen homes in the Chalet architectural style offer a unique aesthetic that blends rustic charm with modern elegance.

Modern Chalet

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The Modern Chalet architectural style emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, a modern shift from the traditional Alpine chalet design. Characterized by a rectangular footprint with a classic Chalet orientation and gabled facade, Modern Chalets generally feature broad gabled roofs organized in rectilinear panels. These roofs often have low to moderate pitches and feature eave overhangs. Additionally, modern chalets often have large central glazed areas flanked by brick or stone piers, with minimal decoration and a balcony on the front facade. Finally, most modern chalets have entry doors that are either recessed or elevated on the side. Overall, the modern Chalet style is an excellent choice for architects who want to embrace the timeless beauty of classic chalets while incorporating contemporary elements.

Dutch Colonial Revival

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The Dutch Colonial Revival architectural style originated in the late 1800s and was popular until the early 1900s. This style is characterized by its gambrel roof, which can be found in both side-passage and front-facing variations. This style typically features a single gable end and a prominent front porch decorated with classically-detailed porch supports and plain balustrades. Other key elements include simple yet well-crafted double-hung sash windows, often with either single panes or multiple panes in the upper light and lunette windows in the upper gable, along with large, single-pane windows. Overall, this architectural style reflects a commitment to balance and simplicity, making it a popular choice for more traditional Aspen luxury homes even to this day.

Gable End

The Gable End architectural style emerged in the late 19th century. This distinctive style is characterized by a ridgeline stretching perpendicular to the street with a gable roof. The porch on the gable end is typically a focal point of the design. Decorative features, such as shingles in the gable end, brackets, and bargeboards, help to give this style a more modest and understated character. Interestingly, most examples of Gable End architecture also feature two front doors facing outward on opposite sides of the house, hinting at its popularity for multi-family homes. Whether you're looking for historic charm or a modern appeal, Gable End architecture is sure to please!


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The Italianate style originated in the mid-19th century and became particularly popular in the 1880s and 1890s. Characterized by rectangular structures with square or cross-gable profiles, this style features brick, wood clapboard, or stucco exteriors and double-hung windows with round arch heads. The window panes are typically one-over-one, two-over-two, or another type of arrangement, while the sills typically protrude. The eaves often feature ornate decorations, including brackets, modillions, and dentil courses. At the same time, the low-pitched roofs are often topped with metal cresting along the ridge. Additionally, many Italianate Aspen homes feature bay windows and quoins or decorative blocks at their corners. Whether in Aspen or another city, these striking buildings are sure to make an impression due to their classic beauty and timeless appeal.

Pan Adobe Log Kit

The Pan Adobe Log Kit architectural style emerged in the 1950s and became popular throughout the 1960s and early 70s. This distinctive style is characterized by its wood-framed, multi-light picture windows, low-pitched gabled or shed roofs, and thick, overlapping cedar log construction. Notably, many Pan Adobe homes feature recessed entrances with rounded or squared corners, accentuated by deep overhanging eaves for protection from the elements. This unique architectural style is known for its simple, rectilinear footprint and natural aesthetic dominated by stained wood finishes. Whether you're looking for a quaint retreat in the mountains or a charming rustic cabin in the woods, Pan Adode homes are sure to provide a warm and cozy living environment that reflects their simple yet elegant design.


The Pioneer architectural style emerged in the late 1800s, characterized by its use of round, hewn, or log slabs that were mill waste. This versatile building style employed a variety of notching techniques for joinery and made use of distinctive log connections and cuts. These features gave the buildings a charming and rustic look that evoked a sense of ruggedness and simplicity.

In addition, spaces between the logs were typically filled with chinking—a mixture of animal hair, clay, straw, or other natural materials—to provide insulation and protection from the elements. Finally, the roofs most often took on either a hip or gable shape and were often finished with rough-sawn wood trim for an extra touch. Overall, this distinctive architectural style embodies many of the important values of early American settlers: hardiness, resourcefulness, and practicality.

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne architectural style is one of the most distinctive and beloved styles in the city. Characterized by its irregular, asymmetrical massing, forward extensions of wall planes, decorative shingles, and spindlework porch supports with lace-like brackets, this style is known for its beautiful and intricate details. Queen Anne homes often feature large, leaded, or stained glass windows, patterned window panes, and bay windows with corbelled brick chimneys. Whether they are new constructions or historic landmarks, Queen Anne homes embody Aspen's spirit and continue to delight residents and visitors alike.


The Rustic architectural style developed in the early 1900s to use local materials to create beautiful, handcrafted buildings that perfectly embodied the rugged spirit of the American West. Characterized by its simple, single-story or 1.5-story design and low-pitched gable roof, this architectural style was typically used for private homes and other small buildings like barns and sheds.

One of the key features of this style was its use of raw, natural materials like locally-sourced wood and stone. In addition, builders often gave special attention to details like the layout of the building footprint, creating smaller additive elements, such as porches and chimneys, to add visual interest to an otherwise simple structure. Overall, the rustic architectural style emerged as a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of early settlers in the American West and continues to be a favorite among architects and homeowners alike today.

Second Empire

The Second Empire architectural style, which flourished in Aspen from 1880 to 1893, is characterized by steeply pitched mansard roofs, heavy wrought-iron ornamentation, and brick, stucco, or wood clapboard exteriors, often with wide eaves that are adorned with modillions or corbelled chimneys. Whether punctuating the skyline or framing doorways and windows, these ornate elements lend a distinctive elegance to Second Empire buildings. Thanks to its enduring beauty and vast stylistic flexibility, this architectural style remains an enduring icon of Aspen's history and character.

Side Gable

The Side Gable architectural style emerged in the late 19th century and was popular for several decades. This style is characterized by a steeply-sloping roof that typically runs parallel to the street, with the ridgeline directly above the front porch. The porch is typically spacious, spanning the width of the house. Decorative elements are typically focused on this central area, including detailed wood trim around windows and doors and decorative patterns or carvings on the porch railing and pillars. Overall, this style gives off a welcoming vibe, making it a popular choice among homeowners looking to create an inviting space.


Vernacular Residential

Vernacular residential real estate is a style of home that embodies the timeless traditions of hand-built architecture. These homes were built by local builders using only the most basic materials and techniques, without relying on formal architectural styles or specialized building supplies. Whether you are looking for a cozy cabin in the countryside or a charming bungalow in the city, vernacular residences offer an authentic glimpse into the past and capture the spirit of simpler times. Their simple, functional design conveys warmth and charm, making them perfect for anyone who loves both history and unique character. 

L-Type "Miner's Cottage"

The Miner's Cottage is an example of the vernacular architectural style. Simple building forms characterized this style, usually consisting of a single story in an L-shaped plan with two wings and covered porches at the intersection of the wings. In addition to these key structural features, this style also featured projecting bay windows and wooden clapboard siding. Another distinctive characteristic was the use of shingle roofing material. Typical of many vernacular styles, construction often took place without any formal design plans or professional supervision, making it a truly grassroots approach to architecture. Despite its humble origins, Miner's Cottage remains a fascinating example of vernacular design principles in action.


The Victorian era is a popular style, which can be said to have originated in the mid-19th century. The style covers everything from Gothic Revival and Greek Revival to Italianate architecture, but there are other styles too! Roofs characterize the period with a steep pitch, iron rails around windows and doors, turrets, domed or octagonal towers, and a minimum of two stories in height. You'll also find charming front porches perfect for entertaining guests under blue skies or enjoying the falling snow.


The Wrightian architectural style was strongly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects who studied under him. Characterized by its low horizontal proportions, flat or low-pitched deep hip roof overhangs, and use of natural materials like rough-sawn wood and brick, Wrightian structures tend to use heavy timber or post-and-beam framing rather than stud framing. These buildings are designed to be highly attuned to the natural environment, with features like battered foundation walls, cantilevered floors or porches, glazed areas that blur the lines between inside and outside, and roofs that seem to float just above the ground.

Another element of Wrightian architecture is the decorative simplicity of these structures; decoration is derived purely from the natural details and construction techniques used. Overall, colors in a Wrightian structure will usually be closely related to the colors of the primary materials used in construction—for example, deep red bricks would likely be accompanied by dark stained wood accents. Thus, Wrightian architecture is an elegant expression of harmony between man-made structures and nature.

Many different types of styles can be seen in Aspen architecture. Each style has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest. Whether looking for a simple vernacular home or a luxurious Victorian estate, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the variety of Aspen homes for sale. If you are hunting for a specific home style, reach out to experienced Aspen real estate agents
Simon & Susan
for assistance.
Recommended reading: The Long-Term Value of Luxury Real Estate in Aspen

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