(Conceptual Design Entry)
The conceptual design for the proposed addition to the Whitney Museum provided the unique challenge of building from Marcel Breuer’s iconic museum, while minimizing the environmental and physical impact on the city, and preserving the historical facades along Madison Avenue.
The prime concept of the design was to create a counterpart building to the Whitney, one that would both contrast and complement its stoic features. The addition is composed of shifting, fragile planes that contrast the Whitney’s block-like façade. The floating, glass galleries and gardens of the expansion provide a counterpoint to the Whitney’s introverted design.
The resulting design springs from a thin sliver of open property behind the existing brownstones, cantilevering the majority of new gallery and garden spaces above the historical facades, and maximizing the use of available urban space along the street. The historical facades of the brownstones remain, but the interiors are replaced with a new, expanded permanent gallery for the Whitney. The cantilevered temporary galleries are housed between insulated concrete planes that allow a thermal separation between the exterior structure and floor systems within. The galleries are surrounded with insulated and solar-selective glass walls, and the plan is kept free of partitions. This provides maximum flexibility within temporary galleries and allows the artwork to be displayed with the city as a backdrop, all while maintaining a stable interior climate and reducing the need for excessive use of mechanical and lighting systems.