Four years after breaking ground, New York’s Whitney Museum for American art reopens this week in a $422m premises built by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
It has moved from the Upper East Side to move down town to the Meatpacking District and is now sandwiched between the Hudson River and the High Line – an elevated railway which has been turned into an urban garden and path with cafes and restaurants below.
The new nine-storey building of concrete, steel and glass is more than double the size of its previous premises on Madison Avenue.
Its asymmetric, angled style reflects the industrial vibe of the neighbourhood, while high ceilings, reclaimed pine floors, vast windows and large terraces fill the building with light and offer spectacular views across Manhattan and the Hudson.
Piano, who built the Pompidou Centre in Paris and London’s The Shard, said he was after a similar effect.
The vast, glass hall, which the Italian calls “the lobby piazza” was designed “to let people come in, not be intimidated”.
“You are entering a new world, the world of art and freedom,” he said. “Art is about freedom.”