The Whitney Museum has a long and troubled history trying to expand its iconic Upper West Side building. We won’t go into the history here, but we can say that moving to a new building. designed by Starchitect Renzo Piano, has not taken away any of the heat the museum has received over the years. It’s not-as you would think-because the museum is moving from the Marcel Breuer building, but because the new building has been so poorly received.
Mr. Piano has designed a lot of museums. It seems, however, that the best ones are behind him. Even though one may argue that his latest design was compromised by cost saving moves, noone really ever liked it outside the Whitney conference rooms. It has been called “clunky,” “out of tune”, “sterile”.
The architect has claimed:
“The first big gesture, then, is the cantilevered entrance, which transforms the area outside the building into a large, sheltered public space. At this gathering place beneath the High Line, visitors will see through the building entrance and the large windows on the west side to the Hudson River beyond.” [from Inhabitat]
But, that’s at ground level. The incredible view from the top of the High-Line’s original steps will be completely obstructed. Apart from perhaps the sundeck area, it was the only wide angle view of the river south of 30th Street. To his credit, Renzo Piano finally responded to all his hate mail.
As you can see from these images, Mr. Piano created a viewing portal right through his museum. Problem solved! Though it does remind us of Fuksas’ MyZeil shopping mall in Frankfurt am Main, we don’t mind.