In 2015, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District will welcome a new tenant. The Whitney Museum will join the vibrant neighborhood with a new building designed by the famed Italian architect, Renzo Piano.
The museum will be stationed between High Line Park and the Hudson River. The cantilevered entrance will be right beneath High Line, a public park located on what was once the New York Central Railroad. Art exhibits are common on this elevated park, a small patch of green amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. The new building will have great views of the Hudson River from the entrance and other areas.
Surrounded by MePa’s industrial buildings, the Whitney will stand as a contemporary sculptural presence. Asymmetrical in form, it will provide a nice contrast to the area’s lofty buildings. The structure will be simple, but Piano will pay close attention to every detail.
This new location should appeal to younger audiences, art lovers who would not usually venture into upper Manhattan to visit a museum. There are plenty of art galleries and design studios in the neighborhood but none quite like the Whitney, whose permanent collection contains nearly 20,000 pieces of American art. Museum space will increase by 60%, providing more room, not only for the collection, but also an education center, a black box theater, a study center, library, reading room and conservation lab. Restaurateur Danny Meyer and his group will incorporate a café and restaurant into the state-of-the-art facility. On June 6th, the Whitney announced the only permanent installation commissioned for the space, thus far: four elevators designed by the late artist Richard Artschwager.
Renzo Piano’s vision for the new Whitney has been carefully thought out; it creates a stunning, functional space to display contemporary artwork, without distracting from the beauty and vibe of the surrounding neighborhood. The windows will allow a flood of natural light and soothing views of the river, making this location not only a joy for museum goers, but a place where artists, themselves, can find inspiration. ■