When imagining starchitect Renzo Piano's new Whitney Museum along the High Line, we've had to content ourselves with drawings and models. Until now! Piano's plans get the full Nicolai Ouroussoff treatment in today's Times, plus the treat of that new rendering above. Ouroussof's review? Probably not as much of a treat for Piano or any Whitney execs who might be reading, since Ouroussoff writes a whole separate blog post detailing the Whitney's many previous failed expansion plans. Nor is the archicritic wild about some of the change Piano's made to his design for the Whitney's MePa debut.
For financial reasons, Piano's had to reign in a few of the biggest ideas of his original plan. The stone fortress-like exterior will now be made up of cream-colored enameled steel plates instead. Less like the Whitney's UES building, but perhaps more in keeping with MePa's industrial roots, says Ouroussoff. He's less enamored of the relocation of the museum's main entrance to Gansevoort Street, the expanded cafe, the columns that do away with Piano's proposed pricey cantilever, and how far away the, uh, actual artwork will be from the lobby.
Such early input from a critic is unusual, but Ouroussoff feels compelled to remind the Whitney execs that Piano's building must be at least as good as the museum's UES original: "Anything else will not only be a shame for the city, but a defining emblem of failure for the Whitney." But no pressure!
· For Whitney, Renzo Piano Building May Be a Crucible [NYT]
· Whitney MePa coverage [Curbed]