Architect John Beckmann and his gang of insurgents at Axis Mundi have done it again: They've taken a high-profile Manhattan project designed by one of the world's most famous architects and tossed it in the trash in favor of their own concept. Last time around Axis Mundi came up with a Vertical Neighborhood to replace Jean Nouvel's controversial Tower Verre, and this time they're trained their T-squares on the Meatpacking District?and Renzo Piano is in the crosshairs!
They don't knock Piano's planned High Line-adjacent bunker for the Whitney Museum, but in a press release announcing their design, the "architectural provocateurs" at Axis Mundi say their concept is a continuation of the philosophies developed by Marcel Breuer when he was commissioned for the original Whitney in the early '60s. It's also a tribute! The sculptural building "represents an historical extension of the Whitney’s commitment to innovative architecture, much as its polygonal windows and raw surfaces pay homage to the original Breuer fenestration and its formal brutalism." Other details, not that they'll ever be realized or anything:
A desire for column-free galleries led the architects to create a perimeter superstructure to contain the staircases, escalators, elevators, and mechanical rooms. This structural lattice allows the galleries to float freely, suspended like bridges, unimpeded by a typical grid structure. The lattice allows light to flood the building in unexpected and dramatic ways, heightening the visitor’s perception of the artwork and the city.Cool! Check out Dezeen for more on the design, and then let the necessary discussion begin: Piano or provocateurs?
· Conceptual extension to Whitney Museum of American Art by Axis Mundi [Dezeen]
· Axis Mundi [axismundi.com]
· Renzo Piano's Slightly Modified Whitney Museum Revealed [Curbed]
· Axis Mundi coverage [Curbed]