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Whitney moves forward with design plan.

Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, announced that the Museum plans to move forward with Renzo Piano's design for the Whitney's expansion and renovation.

Piano's design will add new space for galleries and education programs, an auditorium, and research center--including conservation laboratory, a works on paper study room and a library.

It will also create retail and restaurant amenities, as well as administrative offices within the footprint of the existing Whitney facilities. The project will solve the Museum's long-term critical need for space for its permanent collection, special exhibitions and programs, and enhance the visitor experience throughout the entire museum.

Piano will also lead the renovation of the Whitney's existing building, designed by Marcel Breuer.

Scaled to the residential buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the expansion will simultaneously provide a sense of architectural evolution and historical continuity while strengthening the Whitney's role as a vital cultural and civic center that contributes to the neighborhood.

Said Weinberg. "Renzo Piano's addition will be an extraordinary gift to our visitors, to our neighborhood and to New York."

Piano's design maintains the individual architectural identities of the Whitney's existing buildings including its Marcel Breuer-designed flagship building, four storefront buildings on Madison Avenue and two townhouse office buildings on East 74th Street. A new structure will sit within the brownstones on Madison Avenue and 74th Streets, carefully integrated into the mixed residential--commercial neighborhood.

The addition and the existing building will be connected to the Breuer-designed building by transparent, enclosed bridges between the galleries on each floor at locations that the Breuer team had designated for a future addition. The facade of the new building will be composed of cast metal panels providing a textured and variegated silver-grey surface that will resonate with the grainy concrete exterior of the Breuer-designed building.

The renovation of the Museum's current spaces will provide an upgrade of the galleries in the Breuer-designed building, and a renovation of the sculpture courtyard, as well as new retail and restaurant amenities, improved facilities for art handling, an expanded work area for matting, framing, and carpentry, and a fully enclosed state-of-the-art loading dock.

"We are thrilled to be working with an architect of Renzo Piano's international stature," said Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman of the Whitney Board of Trustees. "He will bring to the Whitney and to New York a museum of simplicity and beauty, and I know the City and our neighbors will be proud of what he creates."

"Marcel Breuer, architect of the Whitney museum, would respect Renzo Piano's conceptual design for this expansion," said Hamilton Smith, collaborating architect on Breuer's design. "The concept is a sensitive 'hands off' contrast to the strong forms and materials of the Breuer-designed building. Those of us associated with the original project look forward to continued development of this very promising design."
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Title Annotation:Construction & Design; Whitney Museum of American Art, Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 17, 2004
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