axis mundi: whitney downtown museum   an alternative axis mundi: whitney downtown museum   an alternative
sep 22, 2010

axis mundi: whitney downtown museum an alternative

the whitney downtown museum – re-imagined by axis mundi

new york architects axis mundi have re-imagined the whitney downtown museum with a self-initiated proposal that is  provocative, and as bold in spirit as the original breuer building on madison avenue.

with an intense sculptural presence, the axis mundi design 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.

the site is located at the beginning of the high line, at the intersection of washington and gansevoort streets. axis mundi sought to ground the newbuilding in a web of ‘historical axes’ which form and organize the program. the plan is based on a series of sight lines extending to 10th avenue, the empire state building, the whitney on madison, and thelocation  of the original whitney on west 10th street.

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.

maintaining vitality at street level and reducing the distance between the street and the art itself was an important consideration for the designers at axis mundi. instead of designing a large vacant lobby, an informal intermingling of public and private space occurs on the street level plinth, creating a complex folding of the urban fabric. the plinth is populated by large-scale sculptures, an outdoor cafe bridge, an info kiosk, and a performance area. a continuous path, weaving in and out of the lattice structure, leads the visitor from the entrance ramp at the corner of washington and gansevoort up to the panoramic viewing deck, overlooking the hudson river and the high line.

john beckmann, principal of axis mundi stated ‘we imagine the contemporary museum to be a dynamic environment – a space that is less a container and more of a conduit.’

the whitney downtown museum – re-imagined

view from gansevoort street



roof terrace

site lines

exploded axonometric diagram

axonometric section

floor plan

floor plan

floor plan

site plan

project info: height: varies from 75 ft to 175 ft floors: 6 above (2 below) building footprint: 39,000 square feet usable square footage: 195,000 square feet

design credits: design team: john beckmann, andy vann, denise pereira and marielle vargas renderings: viviane liao and andy vann illustrations + diagrams: denise pereira and andy vann

  • beijing stadium copy…

    cptCowBoy says:
  • stupid

    n says:
  • terrible

    u.e says:
  • btw all comments (true comments) its interesting how the high line changes may transform and attract some places to new things and concepts!!!

    Pedro says:
  • love it!

    screw everyone else. nothing like bejing.

    your mom says:
  • awful

    SD says:
  • The hideous love child of Libeskind and Herzog + De Meuron

    NYC ME says:
  • wow i like it, its just great , not like beijing

    anton9 says:
  • have you seen the beijing stadium or Breuer’s original? nothing like beijing and a great tribute to the Breuer…..

    flimsy says:
  • its good!!
    I just like to same with lesser width cross elements…

    Prachi Pandit says:
  • The interior is beautiful, but doesn’t work as an exhibition space.

    Ryan says:
  • I like how unorganized it seems, but on the internal design it looks perfect!

    DRC says:
  • very nice

    MAjid Yadegari says:

    D4 Engineering says:
  • Visual elements a delight, with practical elements built in. Good thinking in this proposal. Would have really liked a shot taken from the Hudson d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • the first montage is really nice. Got a bit caught up in architectural navel fluff towards the end, but still pretty interesting

    tati says:

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