Whitney Museum of American Art at night; Whitney Museum of American Art at night;

Whitney Museum of American Art downtown expansion, New York, New York

The strikingly asymmetrical museum works in harmony with its surroundings

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building in downtown Manhattan opened to the public in May of 2015. This six-story museum includes 65,000ft2 of interior gallery space, 15,000ft2 of rooftop galleries, a 200-seat theatre, and retail and office space. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Renzo Piano, the strikingly asymmetrical building works in harmony with its surroundings, gently sloping away from the High Line Park and getting progressively higher as it stretches toward the Hudson River.

Arup’s scope included daylighting and architectural lighting design and consultation. By leveraging daylighting and state-of-the art LED light sources, the project team contributed to significantly reduced energy consumption and cost over the life of the project, helping meet a rigorous energy efficiency goal of 17% cost savings over ASHRAE 90.1.

The building features daylight access in all four levels of galleries as well as the new theatre space. The top floor, which includes a café and special projects gallery, includes a sawtooth skylight system to introduce filtered northern daylight into the space. The eastern and western facades of the 18,000ft2 special exhibition gallery are fully glazed, giving dramatic views of the city and connection to from the building to its surroundings.

A shading system consisting of multiple levels of glare control and diffusing shades at each gallery façade allows the museum to adjust daylight levels for different types of exhibits and solar tracking of shades protects sensitive artwork.

The Grand Stair that connects the lobby spaces to the gallery includes a custom-designed LED panel integrated into the stair landings for a seamlessly integrated lighting solution.