How Renzo Piano’s New Whitney Museum Protects Its Art From Climate Change

How renzo piano's new whitney museum protects its art from climate change

In New York City, toward the southern end of the High Line, a new building seems to float gracefully above the ground. Some critics have compared it to a ship, a nod to New York’s nautical past. But its angled gray surfaces, and the way in which it hovers in the air suspended on thin columns, make it seem more like a spaceship version of Michael J. Fox’s DeLorean in Back to the Future.

The building, which opened on May 1, is the architect Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum of American Art, following a relocation from the museum’s old home on the Upper East Side. Piano himself has acknowledged the aeronautical aspects of the building’s design. “The new Whitney is almost ready to take off. But don’t worry, it won’t, because it weighs 28,000 tons,” he told a crowd at the official opening event.

The reviews of the new design have been glowing (The New York Times called it a “glittery emblem of a new urban capital.”) But the new Whitney’s most intriguing feature might be one that’s gone largely unnoticed: its custom flood-mitigation system, which was designed halfway through the museum’s construction, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, when more than five million gallons of water flooded the site. The system’s features include a 15,500-pound door designed by engineers who build water-tight latches for the U.S. Navy’s Destroyers. “Buildings now have to be designed like submarines,” said Kevin Schorn, an assistant to Piano, reflecting on the demands of a warming world and what it might mean for design. “Do we have to completely rethink our infrastructure? Do we have to completely rethink everything?” []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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