Whitney's Expansion Plans Are Shifting South, to the Meatpacking District
By CAROL VOGEL
Published: November 28, 2006
A month after the Dia Art Foundation scrapped its plans to open a museum at the entrance to the High Line, the abandoned elevated railway line that the city is transforming into a public park, the Whitney Museum of American Art has signed on to take its place and build a satellite institution of its own downtown.
The Whitney recently reached a conditional agreement on Wednesday night with the city's Economic Development Corporation to buy the city-owned site, at Gansevoort and Washington streets, officials at the museum said yesterday. Plans call for the new museum to be at least twice the size of the Whitney's home on Madison Avenue at 75th Street, they said, and to be finished within the next five years.
The deal, which has still to go through a public review process before it is final, puts an end to the Whitney's plan to for a nine-story addition by the architect Renzo Piano that would connect to the museum's original 1966 Marcel Breuer building via a series of glass bridges. It will be the third time in 11 years that the museum has commissioned a celebrity architect to design a major expansion to its landmark building, only to pull out.
"This is a more prudent step to take," Leonard A. Lauder, chairman of the Whitney's board, said by telephone yesterday. "Yet it is an adventurous step. We think the new site will have a big enough impact so that it will become a destination."[read on...]