“One of the most important reasons for the architect’s work, which keeps us going and gives us the strength to continue our projects, is the idea of not creating buildings indifferent to the city, but meeting places, where people will get together and share their values.”— Renzo Piano
The Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building in downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District opens to the public on May 1, 2015. Designed by Renzo Piano and situated on Gansevoort Street between the High Line elevated park and the Hudson River, the new building will greatly increase the Whitney’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art. The building features outdoor galleries with striking views of the city and will provide state-of-the- art facilities for performance, film, video and enhanced education programs, as well as a study center for works on paper, conservation lab, library reading room, street-level restaurant, and eighth-floor cafe.
Renzo Piano’s design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form—one that responds to the industrial character of the Meatpacking District, while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence. The building presents beautiful views of the Hudson River to the west and the High Line and downtown Manhattan to the east.
Site & Neighborhood:
The Whitney’s new building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District will be the cultural anchor of a revitalized downtown neighborhood, adjacent to the southern entrance to the High Line, New York City’s elevated 1.45 mile-long public park. The Meatpacking District is a twenty-square-block area on the far West Side of Manhattan. Surrounding the meatpacking plants just north of Gansevoort Street are some of New York’s most notable restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, clubs, and hotels. The neighborhood is bordered to the north and east by Chelsea, renowned for its contemporary art galleries. The West Village’s nineteenth-century townhouses, charming streets, and unique shops border it on the south. To the west is the Hudson River.
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 Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the Museum in 1930.
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold rating expected from the US Green Building Council would make the Whitney New York City’s first certified LEED-Gold art museum
The Museum determined after super storm Sandy that measures had to be taken to ensure the completed building was protected against future extreme weather events. After a worldwide search for flood control and mitigation experts, the Museum brought in WTM Engineers of Hamburg, Germany, to help design and install a flood mitigation protection system.
About the Whitney:
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875−1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for more than eighty years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is new and influential in American art today.