The Whitney Museum of American Art at Gansevoort

The Whitney Museum of American Art at Gansevoort

Museums
Gansevoort, United States - Build completed in 2015
Nic Lehoux

The Whitney Museum of American Art at Gansevoort

Renzo Piano Building Workshop as Architects

The Whitney Museum is building itself a new home in downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Due to open in 2015, the project will substantially enlarge the Whitney’s exhibition and programming space, enabling the first comprehensive view of the Museum’s growing collection, which today comprises more than 19,000 works of modern and contemporary American art. Founded in 1930, the Whitney moved to its current Madison Avenue home, designed by Marcel Breuer, in 1966. At the time, its collection numbered some 2,000 pieces of 20th-century American art, so its nearly 100-fold expansion needs space to flourish. The new museum is to be situated in New York’s vibrant Meatpacking District. Fronting onto Gansevoort Street, the site lies between the Hudson and the High Line, Manhattan’s recently completed elevated urban park, built on a disused elevated spur of the 1930s New York Central Railroad.


Clad in pale blue-grey steel panels, the new, eight-storey building is powerfully asymmetrical, with the bulk of the full-height museum to the west, Hudson-side, with tiers of lighter terraces and glazed walkways stepping down to the High Line, embracing it into the project. The Museum is entered via a dramatically cantilevered ‘largo’, a public space that serves as a kind of decompression chamber between street and museum, a shared space, with views to the Hudson and the High Line entrance just a few steps away. Accessed from the ‘largo’, the main entrance lobby also serves as a public gallery – of free-entry exhibition space. Level three houses a 170-retractible seat theatre with double-height views over the Hudson River, along with technical spaces and offices. Some 50,000 sq. ft (4 650 sq. m) of gallery space is distributed over levels five, six, seven and eight, the fifth level boasting a 18,000 sq ft (1670 sq. m), column-free gallery – making it the largest open- plan museum gallery in New York City. This gallery is reserved for temporary exhibitions and its expansive volume will enable the display of really large works of contemporary art. The permanent collection is exhibited on two floors, level six and seven. These two floors also step back towards the west to create 13,000 sq ft (1 200 sq. m) of outdoor sculpture terraces. Museum offices, education centre, conservation laboratories and library reading room are situated north of the building’s core on levels three to seven, including a multi-use theatre for film, video and performance on level five. Finally, on the top floor is the ‘studio’ gallery and a café, naturally lit by a skylight system in saw-tooth configuration. The new Whitney is due to open on 1st May 2015.

The Whitney Museum

Cooper Robertson as Architects

Located on Gansevoort Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the new Whitney Museum of American Art places the museum at the epicenter of New York’s newest cultural district. Clad in pale blue-grey enamel steel panels, the nine-story, powerfully asymmetrical building responds to its low-rise neighbors with a series of terraces linked by outdoor walkways that step back from the adjacent elevated High Line park.


The design features 50,000 square feet of bright, double-height galleries overlooking the Hudson River, an education center and research library, art storage and conservation labs, office/support space, a museum shop, an informal café, and a 200-seat theater for public programs. The program is organized around an exposed precast-concrete core of vertical circulation and mechanical ducts, with galleries to the south and curatorial and support spaces to the north.


Visitors enter the museum from a public plaza or “largo” with generous outdoor gathering space and an adjoining Danny Meyer restaurant. The galleries on floors five through eight share consistent armature and transparency but vary slightly in proportion and character. The eighth floor gallery features north-facing sawtooth skylights, a connected café, and access to the upper level art terrace and outdoor stairs to the galleries and terraces below. The fifth floor's 18,000 square feet of column-free gallery space is the largest in New York City and provides access to the largest art terrace on the roof of the adjacent High Line Maintenance & Operations Building. Both the building’s exterior and interior provide a flexible framework for the display of art.

Whitney Museum of American Art

Josef Gartner GmbH as Manufacturers

Located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the strongly asymmetrical Whitney museum is clad in unusually long and thin pale blue-grey steel panels that pick up on the appearance of the surrounding historical warehouses.


The three-dimensional sheets, measuring up to 20 m in length and with a thickness of only 8mm were specially machined in Germany by Josef Gartner, who design and manufacturer custom-made envelopes in aluminium and steel. As part of their processing the sheets were partly milled, folded, welded and coated. The handling of such unusual, extra- long and thin steel sheets, which react in a similar way to thin paper, was a challenge for all parties involved from welding to coating up to transport.


The sheets were shipped via Hamburg to New York using RoRo special transporters. From the port in New York, the sheets were transported through the city to the site and installed with a suction lifter specially designed for this purpose. The project itself was developed in 3D as the facades are inclined at different angles. The project was developed in 3D as the facades are inclined at different angles towards the inside and also to the sides. The steel sheets were tailored to the shape of the building and folded around the edges


In addition to the steel cladding, there are large glass façade areas facilitating natural light. Gartner manufacturer the slim and elegant aluminium profile glazing system as well as the steel stick system on the inside.


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The Whitney Museum in New York houses one of the most important collections of American Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Designed by the Architect Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the nine floor new development between the High Line and the Hudson River in Downtown Manhattan will considerably increase the Museum’s exhibition space. The opening of the Museum is scheduled for 2015.


The building was clad with three dimensional steel sheets of up to 20 m long and only 8 mm thick, which were specially machined and developed for the bespoke solutions as well as for transport and installation. Large glass façade areas facilitate natural lighting of the more than 21.000 works of art. Interior sun shading was also installed to filter out direct sunlight. Overall Gartner manufactured slim and elegant looking façades of a large variety with an area of approx. 9,570 sqm.


The Museum was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Marcel Breuer and Hamilton P. Smith designed the Museum’s current building close to Central Park in which, apart from paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, also installations, video art and photography are exhibited. The cornerstone for the new Museum was laid in 2013. The new building is one block east of the Hudson River and should offer three times the existing space of the old one. It is situated at a prominent position at the end of the High Line Park, a park which was constructed in 2006 on a 2,3 km long former elevated railway line. According to Renzo Piano, visitors can enjoy both the city and the river as the building connects art and the city in a special way.


The asymmetrical building with a compact and closed appearance is 53,3 m high, 86,7 m long and 38,3 m wide. The building responds to the industrial character of the neighbourhood and the steel High Line in the Meatpacking District. The façade’s grey steel sheeting picks up on the appearance of the surrounding historical warehouses, the steel girders of the roofs, the steel structure of the High Line. The project was extensively developed in 3D as the façades are inclined at different angles towards the inside and also to the sides. The steel sheets were tailored to the shape of the building and folded around the edges. The Museum has one of the largest column-free galleries in city which is suffused with natural light.


The 6.500 sqm main façade comprises an aluminium façade with 8 mm thick steel sheets suspended on the front, which were partly milled, folded, welded and coated. These sheets hang over a height of several stories. In some areas of this façade fixed glazed windows were included. The façade units are 1,016 mm wide and up to 11,000 mm long. The outer steel sheets weigh up to 2.5 tons, are 991 mm wide and up to 21,000 mm long. The handling of such un-usual, extra long and thin steel sheets, which react almost in a similar way to a thin sheet of paper, was a challenge for all parties involved from welding to coating up to packing.


In roof area, also to maximise natural lighting, there are saw-tooth skylights measuring 530 sqm carried out as stick system, aligned to the north. The steel sheet cladding has a surface finish in RAL Design 2208005, the outer aluminium façade in RAL 7046 and the steel stick system in RAL 7047 on the inside.Gartner additionally supplied fire-resistant façades, entrance systems, folding/sliding door systems, sun shading systems, ventilation units, grillage, ladders, handrail systems, chimney cladding and glass canopies.


The extra long and thin steel sheets were delivered from Gundelfingen via Hamburg to New York using RoRo-Special-Transporters. From the port in New York, the oversized sheets were transported through New York to the building site and installed with a suction lifter which was especially designed for this purpose. On the north and east sides of the Museum steel stick façades (mul-lion/transom systems) in varying sizes and an area of 1,180 sqm were installed which enable natural lighting of large interior spaces. Direct sunlight is avoided through the use of sun shading.


Part of the main glass types for the stick system comprises solar control double glazed units. The outer pane consists of 10 mm low-iron glass, the black spacer is made of 12 mm stainless steel, the inner pane consists of low-iron laminated glass with SentryGlas interlayer. The glazing achieves a g-value of 39% and a u-value of 1,40 W/m²K.On the ground floor a 600 sqm area was clad with a filigree cable wall which elegantly closes off the entrance area. In addition a 800 sqm roof area was clad with 8 mm steel sheeting.


The other part consists of an outer pane of 11.52 mm low-iron laminated glass with Sentry Glas interlayer, the black spacer is made of 12 mm stainless steel. The inner pane consists of 10 mm low-iron glass. The glazing achieves a g-value of 39% and a u-value of 1,40 W/m²K.

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