Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whitney Museum Downtown

The Meatpacking District promises to be one of the most exciting areas of Manhattan in just a matter of time.

Thanks to designs of the extremely talent architect Renzo Piano (also working in a major expansion of Columbia University) the Whitney Museum Downtown will be part of the wonderful High Line Redevelopment.

The photo is a computer rendering of Renzo Piano Building Workshop proposal for the downtown annex of the Whitney Museum.

Mr. Piano’s project for a site on Gansevoort Street, west of Washington Street, is a striking departure from the ethereal glass creations that have made him a favorite of the art-world cognoscenti. Its bold chiseled form won’t appeal to those who prefer architecture to be unobtrusive

Rising among the derelict warehouses and hip boutiques of the rapidly changing neighborhood, the museum’s monumental exterior forms are conceived as a barrier against the area’s increasingly amusement-park atmosphere. It makes a powerful statement about the encroaching effects of the global consumer society. Inside, Mr. Piano has created a contemplative sanctuary where art reasserts its primary place in the cultural hierarchy.

The feat is especially impressive given the obstacles Mr. Piano and the Whitney have overcome. Mr. Piano’s design is certainly distinct from Breuer’s, presenting a strange, even forbidding aura. The design is preliminary, and needs more work. But Mr. Piano has laid the groundwork for a serious work of architecture. The bold form expresses a level of experimental courage that he hasn’t shown in years. This is a building that could revive the Whitney, and inject welcome creative energy into the city’s cultural life.

1 comment:

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