Location, location, location: Renzo Piano’s new Whitney

As I write this I’m sitting in the much-adored High Line in the Meatpacking District of NYC. The revitalization of this area seems to be getting better and better every day. It must be quite the case study for urban planning turnaround projects.

When I heard Renzo Piano was designing a new Whitney Museam I was intrigued. I love his work and this project is a bit personal to me as my wife Andrea used to work at the existing Whitney on 75th Street. When I heard it was going to located in this area and straddling the Hudson River I was instantly smitten.

This project feels similar to the Guggenheim Bilbao. That museum, also a satellite of a NY icon and also straddling a river, almost overpowers that region. I take that back, it DOES overpower the city of Bilbao. It acts as a stand-alone monument, a one-man show.

The Piano-proposed Whitney seems to have learned a bit from that project. It embraces the wide vistas of the Hudson, takes in massive quantities of natural light from the south and yet it doesn’t seem too in love with itself. It’s design offers a modern juxtaposition to nearby industrial, turn of the century warehouses and also seems to feel right at home. I love it.


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