Renzo piano's whitney museum of american art set to open in New York

renzo piano
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Designed by italian architect renzo piano, the new building for the whitney museum of american art is ready to open its doors in downtown manhattan’s meatpacking district.

Positioned between the high line and the hudson river, the much-anticipated project contains a series of indoor and outdoor galleries that double the institution’s floor space in comparison to its former home.

conceived as a laboratory for artists, the scheme features dedicated areas for education programs, as well as a 170-seat theater, a study center, a multimedia performance space, a conservation center and a library. from each of the building’s nine storeys, views are offered towards the hudson river and into the city, ensuring that a profound sense of place is established.

the structure’s bold and asymmetrical form responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings, while simultaneously asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence.

‘the design of this building emerged from many years of conversations with the whitney, which took us back to the museum’s origins,’ explained renzo piano. ‘we spoke about the roots of the whitney in downtown new york, and about this opportunity to enjoy the open space by the hudson river. museum experience is about art, and it also about being connected to this downtown community and to this absolutely extraordinary physical setting.’

a dramatically cantilevered entrance along gansevoort street shelters an 8,500 square foot plaza, designed to become a popular gathering space sited adjacent to the high line’s southern entrance. inside, the john r. eckel, jr. foundation gallery is accessible to the public free of charge, while the expansive fifth-floor neil bluhm family gallery is the largest column-free exhibition space in new york – providing 18,000 square feet of flexible display area. approximately 13,000 square feet of outdoor galleries on the building’s cascading terraces offer external exhibition and performance spaces, which extend the gallery experience outside.

from an environmental perspective, the new whitney is the first art museum in new york to pursue LEED gold status. the design incorporates a green roof, plaza level planters, and a storm water detention tank to reduce site runoff. in addition, 20% of the construction materials, such as the reclaimed pine floors, were recycled.

the sheltered entrance and foyer at ground floor level image © nic lehoux

the sheltered entrance and foyer at ground floor level image © nic lehoux


floor-to-ceiling glazing ensures constant external vistas image © nic lehoux


views are provided towards the hudson river from each of the building’s nine storeys image © nic lehoux


outdoor galleries are positioned on the building’s cascading terraces image © nic lehoux


the outdoor areas offer external exhibition and performance spaces image © nic lehoux


sweeping view are provided across the city image © nic lehoux