New Whitney Museum Building – 2015
VIDEO A preview of the Whitney Museum building at Washington Street and Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the 200,000-square-foot space will open to the public in 2015.
The Whitney Museum has broken ground on a 200,000-square-foot building in downtown Manhattan. Located in the Meatpacking District on Gansevoort Street between West Street and the High Line, the new building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, will provide the Whitney with essential new space for its collection, exhibitions, and education and performing arts programs in one of New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods.
According to architect Renzo Piano, “The design for the new Whitney Museum emerges equally from a close study of the Whitney’s needs and from a response to this remarkable site.
We wanted to draw on its vitality and at the same time enhance its rich character. The first big gesture, then, is the cantilevered entrance, which transforms the area outside the building into a large, sheltered public space. At this gathering place beneath the High Line, visitors will see through the building entrance and the large windows on the west side to the Hudson River beyond. Here, all at once, you have the water, the park, the powerful industrial structures and the exciting mix of people, brought together and focused by this new building and the experience of art.”
The new WhitneyMuseum building will include more than 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space on a series of rooftops facing the High Line, providing long-awaited opportunities to show more of the Whitney’s collection in tandem with temporary exhibitions.
The collection has grown from about 2,000 works at the time of the building’s opening, in 1966, to more than 19,000 works today. An expansive gallery for temporary exhibitions will be approximately 18,000 square feet in area, making it the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City. Gallery space for ground-floor exhibitions (accessible free of charge), two floors for the permanent collection, and contemporary artists’ projects on the top floor will total approximately 32,000 square feet.
The dramatically cantilevered entrance along Gansevoort Street will shelter an 8,500-square-foot outdoor plaza or “largo,” a public gathering space steps away from the southern entrance to the High Line. The new building will engage the Whitney directly with the bustling community of artists, gallerists, students, educators, entrepreneurs, and residents in the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village, where the Museum was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930.
The building also will include an Education Center offering dedicated space for state-of-the-art classrooms; a multi-use black box theater for film, video, and performance with an adjacent outdoor gallery; a 170-seat theater with double-height views of the Hudson River; and a Works on Paper Study Center, large art Conservation Lab, and Library Reading Room. The classrooms, theater, and study center are all firsts for the Whitney Museum. As well, a retail shop on the ground-floor level will contribute to the vibrant street life of the area. A ground-floor restaurant and top-floor café will be conceived and operated by renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group, which recently opened Untitled, the new restaurant in the Whitney at 945 Madison Avenue.
Mr. Piano’s design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form—one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and overhead railway while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence. The upper stories of the building will stretch toward the Hudson River on the west side and step back gracefully from the elevated park of the High Line on the east side.
“The building is projected to open to the public in 2015. I plan to visit. Join me!”
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