May 21, 2008

Whitney Museum Unveils Design by Renzo Piano for New Downtown Building

The centerpiece of the design is its indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces. The expansive third-floor special exhibition gallery will be approximately 17,500 square feet, one of the largest free-span exhibition spaces in New York. Galleries for the permanent collection on the fourth and fifth floors, and for long-term projects on the top floor, will total approximately 30,000 square feet. The building also will offer dedicated space for a stateof- the-art education facility; a research library; a conservation area; a multi-use space for film, video and the performing arts; a 175-seat theater; and a study center (the theater and study center both being firsts for the Whitney). Other amenities include a restaurant; a cafe; a bookstore; a lobby; and a ground-floor exhibition gallery, accessible to the public free of charge, that will contribute to the vibrant street life of the area.Mr. Piano's design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form-one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and railway while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence. The upper stories of the building will spread freely beyond the base, stretching toward the Hudson River on the west side and stepping back gracefully from the elevated park of the High Line on the east side."The first big gesture of the design is its cantilevered entrance, which transforms the area outside the building into a large, sheltered public space," said Mr. Piano. "In this way, beneath the second-story level of the High Line park, the Whitney adds a street-level gathering place of its own. From this public space, visitors will be able to see through the building entrance and a series of large windows on the west side of the building to the Hudson River and beyond. This is one of several ways in which we respond to this remarkable site, drawing on its vitality and trying to enhance it at the same time." (to find out more..)

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