The new Whitney Museum of American Art offers a distinct vantage to admire at every angle. Its multifaceted design has attracted both admiration and ire, but there’s no denying the adventurous and accessible spirit of Renzo Piano’s work is a fitting tribute to museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.
In addition to the impressive High Line and Hudson River adjacent views afforded by the Whitney’s terraces and exterior stairs, I appreciate the opportunity for fresh air and contemplation to bookend the viewing experience on each floor. It’s a thoughtful design to house a dynamic collection. As critic Alan G. Brake notes, “…viewing art is not a static act, but rather a sequence of experiences of looking, focusing and unfocusing, thinking, moving, standing, sitting, etc.”¹
A New Chapter
The quote in this image comes from a short documentary series by the Whitney community documenting the opening of the new downtown building, the museum’s fourth location. It illustrates so much of what attracts me to architecture, the ethos of the time and people who conceived a structure and all the stories that have lived within.
This building is a continuation of the Whitney’s story, and it’s evident the design team looks forward to a vivid future. From the U.S. Navy-designed custom flood-mitigation system² to the free public gallery located on the ground floor, the new Whitney building’s narrative intends to both protect and promote a legacy of American Art.
For a look inside the Whitney and renderings of the surrounding neighborhood, I’d recommend the New York Times Architecture Review.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
New York, NY 10014
- Brake, Alan G. “Crit Whitney Museum of American Art – The Architect’s Newspaper.” Architect’s Newspaper. 15 June 2015.
- Whitaker, John. “Protecting Priceless Art From Natural Disasters.” The Atlantic. 27 May 2015