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Thread: Whitney Museum of American Art expansion - by Renzo Piano

  1. #31

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    The grey metal panels sound like the same sh..it that Piano used on the Morgan Library. It looks like a 1970's tack-on which mars a magnificent 19th century structure (i.e., the Morgan Library). Piano's use of metal panels in a tall building in this area of the UES would be out of place and will suck. I wonder if his 17 story box will even have windows or if it will just be a 17-20 story box covered in grey metal.

  2. #32

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    I'm guessing box.

  3. #33

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    I agree with you. But for the NYT Tower, it seems like Renzo is defecating on NY.

  4. #34

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    The Columbia expansion may turn out nice (if not trashed by local NIMBYs).

  5. #35
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Whitney Museum applies for 7 variances for its expansion 26-APR-06




    The Board of Standards and Appeals held a three-and-a-half hour hearing this morning on an application for seven variances for an expansion of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
    The museum is presently housed in a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture by Marcel Breuer on the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and 75th Street.

    The proposed expansion, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Cooper Robertson & Partners as associate architects, would be on the remainder of the blockfront on the avenue where the museum owns several brownstones. The initial plan by Mr. Piano called for demolition of the two brownstones closest to the museum to create an entrance to a tower that would be setback about 30 feet from the avenue and behind the facades of the remaining brownstones. At the request of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the plan was revised to permit the demolition of only one of the brownstones.

    The museum’s would use only 128,176 square feet of the 230,380 permissible square feet on its site under existing zoning, Michael T. Sillerman of the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, which is representing the museum, told the board.

    Adam Weinberg, the director of the museum, told the meeting that the expansion program will provide the museum not only with additional exhibition space, but also a 260-seat auditorium, dedicated educational spaces, a loading dock, restoration of the facades of the brownstone buildings and needed renovation work to the Breuer building.

    The design approved by the landmarks commission cannot be built within existing zoning regulations relating to street wall, setbacks, height, and rear yards. The rather boxy tower would be clad in a matte stainless steel, Mr. Weinberg said, with glass-enclosed staircases on the south façade.

    Howard Zipser, a land-use attorney who is representing the Coalition of Concerned Whitney Neighbors, which is opposed to the project, argued before the board today that many of the variances could be minimized with a redesign that would lower the height of the planned, mid-block, 178-foot-high tower that would be set back 30 feet from the avenue to permit continued use of the front part of the existing brownstones. Mr. Zipser said that private and non-profit owners should be treated the same and that variances should be the minimum needed, adding that 65 percent of the expanded space would be “non-gallery space” and that the plans were an “aggrandizement” and “a gilded lily.”

    Mr. Weinberg told the board that Piano’s plan connects with existing floors in the Breuer building and would include a one-floor setback expansion of the Breuer Museum with a rooftop landscaped sculpture garden. He said that the museum did not want to lose about $1.5 million in revenue from the retail leases in the brownstones, and Commissioner Christopher Collins remarked that it was “a bit incongruous” for the museum to ask for a blanket variance from a requirement that 75 percent of the streetfront remain retail. Board vice chairman Satish K. Babbar, asked the applicants whether the tower could be shifted to the south and its dimensions altered to minimize variances. Another variance relates to tree plantings and Meenakshi Srinvasan, the board’s chairperson, suggested that the museum try to work out a landscaping plan with the Department of Parks. She scheduled another hearing for June 20.

    In a letter to the board, Elizabeth Ashby, co-chairman of the Defenders of the Upper East Side, which is opposed to the variances, maintained that “This application doesn’t shoot the Special Madison Avenue District in the foot; it shoots it in the heart.”

    The application was vigorously defended at the board meeting today by the directors of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

    www.cityrealty.com/new_developments

  6. #36

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    "masterpiece of Brutalist architecture" -- borders on an oxymoron...

    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    Whitney Museum applies for 7 variances for its expansion 26-APR-06

    The museum is presently housed in a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture...

  7. #37

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    While I like the NYT Tower, I really don't respect Piano. It is absurd that he wanted to tear down those brownstones, and his tower simply does not fit in in the UES.

  8. #38

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    Vertical musea as a concept don't seem to work very well. The MoMA is just barely tolerable with its escalators; I despise the Whitney elevators as they stand now...this addition will no doubt be worse.

  9. #39
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    From http://cityrealty.com/new_developments:

    Whitney Museum of American Art gets go-ahead for expansion 26-JUL-06

    The Board of Standards and Appeals approved seven variances yesterday for an expansion of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

    The museum is presently housed in a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture by Marcel Breuer on the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and 75th Street.

    The proposed expansion, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Cooper Robertson & Partners as associate architects, would be on the remainder of the blockfront on the avenue where the museum owns several brownstones.

    The initial plan by Mr. Piano called for demolition of the two brownstones closest to the museum to create an entrance to a tower that would be setback about 30 feet from the avenue and behind the facades of the remaining brownstones. At the request of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the plan was revised to permit the demolition of only one of the brownstones.

    The museum’s would use only 128,176 square feet of the 230,380 permissible square feet on its site under existing zoning, according to Michael T. Sillerman of the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, which is representing the museum.

    Adam Weinberg, the director of the museum, has told the board that the expansion program will provide the museum not only with additional exhibition space, but also a 260-seat auditorium, dedicated educational spaces, a loading dock, restoration of the facades of the brownstone buildings and needed renovation work to the Breuer building.

    The design approved by the landmarks commission cannot be built within existing zoning regulations relating to street wall, setbacks, height, and rear yards. The rather boxy tower would be clad in a matte stainless steel, Mr. Weinberg said, with glass-enclosed staircases on the south façade.

    Howard Zipser, a land-use attorney who is representing the Coalition of Concerned Whitney Neighbors, which is opposed to the project, argued before the board that many of the variances could be minimized with a redesign that would lower the height of the planned, mid-block, 178-foot-high tower that would be set back 30 feet from the avenue to permit continued use of the front part of the existing brownstones. Mr. Zipser said that private and non-profit owners should be treated the same and that variances should be the minimum needed, adding that 65 percent of the expanded space would be “non-gallery space” and that the plans were an “aggrandizement” and “a gilded lily.”

    Mr. Weinberg told the board that Piano’s plan connects with existing floors in the Breuer building and would include a one-floor setback expansion of the Breuer Museum with a rooftop landscaped sculpture garden. He said that the museum did not want to lose about $1.5 million in revenue from the retail leases in the brownstones.

    Elizabeth Ashby, co-chairperson of the Defenders of the Upper East Side, wrote the board a letter in opposition to granting of the variances, maintaining that “This application doesn’t shoot the Special Madison Avenue District in the foot; it shoots it in the heart.”

    The application, however, has been vigorously defended by the directors of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. The Renzo Piano Building Workshop recently completed a major renovation and expansion of The Morgan Library about two miles south on the avenue from the Whitney.


  10. #40

    Default lets see what he comes up with in Brooklyn

    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer
    While I like the NYT Tower, I really don't respect Piano. It is absurd that he wanted to tear down those brownstones, and his tower simply does not fit in in the UES.
    Piano is designing for Ratner and New York City College of Technology over by Metrotech a huge mixed use building. Think college building and condo towers.

    Air rights deal = tower

    http://www.construction.com/NewsCent...20060512ny.asp

    For instance, Macari is finalizing an agreement to sell the air rights over a building at City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn. The existing structure onsite would be demolished, and Renzo Piano of Italy has been hired as the architect for a new mixed-use facility that would replace it.

    New academic complex, New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn
    Cost: $186 million
    Size: 262,000 sq. ft.
    Current Phase/Expected Completion:
    Design/December 2009
    Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Italy; Perkins Eastman, New York
    PM: DASNY

  11. #41

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    Sounds promising.

  12. #42

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    What is that: some kind of rotating flagpole on Renzo's Whitney building?

    He sure doesn't believe in photorealistic renderings. How can they tell how his projects will look? Maybe a photorealistic rendering of the Morgan Library exterior would have made them think twice.

  13. #43

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    Im not a conspiracy theorist but while Piano has given some notable contributions to other city's he has given New York City the bum end of the deal. I think a more realistic scenario is that his star has lost some of its luster and right now, he's just not that good. He's not the modernist Meier is, especially when he renders everything in greys.

    1. Morgan Library Addition

    2. Whitney Museum Addition

    3. New York Times Headquarters.

    Three strikes, ya out!

  14. #44

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    Suit Is Filed Against City Over Plans To Expand Whitney Museum
    BY KATE TAYLOR - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    September 1, 2006

    Upper East Side residents who want to stop the Whitney Museum of American Art's planned expansion have filed suit against the city, hoping to rewind the approval process and force the museum to scale back its plan.

    The plaintiffs — two associations of residents and the owners of the Carlyle Hotel — claim that the Board of Standards and Appeals erred in granting the museum variances to zoning regulations, in order to allow the Whitney to go forward with its expansion, which includes a 178-foot stainless-steel-clad tower designed by the award-winning architect Renzo Piano.

    "They granted seven variances; it's almost as if they rewrote the zoning law just to fit the Whitney," a member of the Coalition of Concerned Whitney Neighbors, a party to the lawsuit, Edward Klimerman, said.

    The Whitney has undergone a long process to get approval for its expansion, which it claims it needs in order to create more gallery space, as well as an auditorium, classrooms, and a conservation lab. Mr. Piano's tower will be set behind six brownstones on Madison Avenue between 74th and 75th streets, which are owned by the Whitney, and connected by glass bridges to the original 1966 Marcel Breuer building. One brownstone, which, within the Upper East Side Historic District, is not a "contributing" building — that is, not deemed by the city as artistically important to the character of the neighborhood — will be demolished; the Whitney will reduce the five others in depth to make room for the expansion. The Whitney's plan was approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2005 and by the Upper East Side Community Board in January. The BSA granted the variances on July 25.

    In interviews, individuals involved in the suit were most vociferous in their objections to the height and appearance of Mr. Piano's tower. "This is an 18-story filing cabinet, a metal building with basically no windows whatsoever, standing amid beautiful townhouses," the president of the Coalition of Concerned Whitney Neighbors, Donald Gringer, said. "A steel-paneled building really belongs in an industrial park," he added."I wouldn't up a building like that in the Bronx," where he owns a factory. "He's putting it up in a beautiful landmarked district."

    "The scale and design of this does not fit into the historic district," a cochairwoman of the Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, Elizabeth Ashby, said. "It's a windowless, metalclad tower." She added, "One of the things that we suggested is, since they don't have any windows, they could put that underground."

    The suit devised by the groups' lawyers, however, relies not on aesthetic arguments but on legal ones. The plaintiffs claim that the BSA gave the museum undue special treatment and failed to adequately scrutinize its variance application.

    They argue that the BSA gave the museum a level of deference due only to educational and religious institutions, by accepting the museum's claim that its programs, to which much of the new space would be dedicated, made it an educational institution.

    The plaintiffs also claim that that the museum's description of its space needs was "incomplete, vague, and unsubstantiated," and that the BSA didn't have a reasonable basis to evaluate whether these needs could be met without violating zoning regulations. Lastly, they argue that the museum took advantage of its nonprofit status to build an expansion that will include for-profit components.

    A spokeswoman for the city's legal department said, "We have not yet received the papers, but we will evaluate them thoroughly." A spokeswoman for the Whitney, Jan Rothschild, said the museum was also not ready to comment on the lawsuit, as no one there had seen the papers, either.

    The plaintiffs hope that the Supreme Court of the State of New York will annul the BSA's July 25 decision, and that the museum will be forced to design a smaller expansion. "We really see no reason why it cannot be reduced in size," a co-chairwoman of the Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, Teri Slater, said.

    "I would like to see them build a smaller addition, go further underground if possible," Mr. Klimerman said.

    Both Ms. Slater and Mr. Klimerman saw the Whitney as an example of a citywide trend of institutions expanding and compromising historically residential areas. Ms. Slater cited NYU's expansion of its facilities in Greenwich Village, medical institutions on the Upper East Side, and Columbia University in Harlem. "The city should ensure its residents that the residential areas are going to remain just as they are," Ms. Slater said. "They're areas where people live and rest and recharge. They're not supposed to be developed the way the rest of the city is, the more commercial areas."

    "I am very concerned as a citizen of New York with this institution expansion," Mr. Klimerman said. "Where do you draw the line, with these schools and religious institutions and hospitals and museums? Soon they'll be no place to live."

    Some Upper East Side residents and preservationists now support the Whitney's expansion, since the museum abandoned an earlier plan that would have required demolishing a second, more stylistically significant brownstone. "It will be a startling building, there's no question about it, but I think Piano is a distinguished museum architect," a board member of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District, Franny Eberhart, said. "It has its approvals," she added, "so it will be interesting to see if they have any success with this lawsuit.

  15. #45

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    Here's Foster's first major skyscraper design in New York City for the Whitney.


    Good article about the architecture of additions from The City Review here:
    http://www.thecityreview.com/hearst.html

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