"We imagine the contemporary museum to be a dynamic environment - a space that is less a container and more of a conduit." - John Beckmann, principal of Axis Mundi
This provocative design
for the Whitney Museum expansion
by Axis Mundi stands as a loud contrast to the designs by Renzo Piano
. It claims to be as bold in spirit as the original Breuer building on Madison Avenue. Whitney Downtown
is based on a series of sight lines that extend to 10th Avenue, the Empire State Building, the Whitney on Madison, and the original Whitney that was located on West 10th Street. It aims to reduce the distance between the art and the public on the street. It has a winding path that weaves in and out of the museum, from the entrance ramp at the corner to the panoramic viewing deck. The outside of the museum has an information kiosk, an outdoor cafe bridge, a performance area, and is also filled with sculptures. Inside the museum the staircases, escalators, elevators, and mechanical rooms are all located in the perimeters, allowing column-free galleries to float freely, suspended like bridges. Also, the lattice structure allows light to flow inside in unexpected and dramatic ways.