High Line Nine is a new collection of art galleries located along a central through way directly under the High Line in West Chelsea, a former industrial zone currently home to many art galleries and cultural institutions. The new ground-up development has been designed by studioMDA and developed by Related Companies. High Line Nine will be the first building in New York to reinterpret the European arcade of the 19th century and apply its programmatic elements to art galleries.
Having designed over 140 booths for Art Fairs all over the world, studioMDA focused on the idea to specifically design the 10,000 square feet building to accommodate a wide range of galleries by offering nine full service and highly amenitized boutique exhibition spaces, ranging from 500 to 1300 square feet. All of the spaces in High Line Nine offer museum quality lighting and have skylights over the 13 foot art walls achieving a maximum of 22 feet in height. At 28th Street, next to the High Line entrance, there is a wine bar/café and catering kitchen also designed by studioMDA.
Borrowing from the European arcade, the layout of the building is dominated by a central corridor, connecting 27th and 28th Streets, serving as the main artery of circulation for the purpose-built interior facades that look into each of the nine gallery spaces.
The central corridor is a sloped concrete floor, maximizing ceiling heights while responding to site topography. The entrances to each gallery feature curved walls enhanced by natural light revealing each gallery to the visitor. Exposed High Line columns and steel beams give the gallery the industrial feel that is commensurate with the historical and aesthetic architecture of the neighborhood. The corridor seeks to maximize viewing space by allowing direct views in the galleries from the large glass windows that act as gallery vitrines.
The facade, cast in white bronze, embraces the history of the site, home to a metal recycling yard for over 50 years. studioMDA collaborate with Polich Tallix, a foundry that has a long history of working with artist, and followed various steps to create the intricate facade. At first, a slate plate was scanned to extract its texture that was later digitally manipulated to create a monolithic pattern that would run along the whole width of the facade. The digital model was then used to 3d print sand molds at the maximum possible size that were later cast in white bronze and divided in panels for the installation on site.The result is a testament to the collaborative work between architect and fabricator.