The Whitney Museum of American Art opened its new home in the Meatpacking District between the High Line and the Hudson River with inaugural exhibition America is Hard to See. The new building, with 50,000 square feet of indoor gallery space and 13,000 of outdoor exhibition area, is the largest column-free museum gallery and a substantial increase from the smaller Upper East Side location. Near the museum there is an 8,500 square-foot outdoor public plaza dubbed “the Largo.”
“Here, all at once, you have the water, the park, the powerful industrial structures and the exciting mix of people, brought together and focused by this new building and the experience of art,” said the Whitney’s architect Renzo Piano of the renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
The design is strikingly asymmetrical, a response to the neighborhood’s distinctive industrial, sculptural quality. The $422 million structure will include a street-level retail shop, restaurant, top floor café, 170-seat theater, Works on Paper Study Center, Conservation Lab and Library Reading Room.
“What’s interesting about this is the unique geometry, the high attention to detail. As you encounter the museum, there’s something different at every turn.” said Andrew Thomann, senior project manager of Renzo Piano Building Workshop.