Whitney Museum of American Art Downtown Expansion



Cladding Area110 000 sf

ArchitectRenzo Piano Building Workshop Cooper Robertson

OwnerWhitney Museum of American Art

Project type

Phase of InvolvementDesign

Type of Construction

Year of Completion2015


The new Whitney Museum of American Art, designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, is a 185,000 sf freestanding building located between the High Line and the Hudson River.  The building enclosure is formed from several custom wall types, juxtaposed to emphasize the building geometry.

Indoor galleries are wrapped with monumental glass and blue-grey steel plate rainscreen cladding, including some steel panels over sixty feet in continuous length.  Many of the steel panels incorporate a slight fold at the vertical edges, punctuating the joint between panels and highlighting the building form.  At the East elevation the building structure cantilevers up and out toward the High Line, creating a generous, sheltered public space at street level.  The adjacent lobby and restaurant are enclosed by a tension cable wall with a unique double-cable design utilizing cables both inboard and outboard of the glazing, featuring a wide glass module and low-iron glass throughout to maximize transparency.  The core of the building, differentiated from the galleries, is enclosed by precast concrete panels with custom stainless steel recessed anchors at strategic areas for the display of art.  The uppermost ‘Studio’ gallery floor is lit from above by a matrix of North-facing, steel sawtooth monitors and vertical, triple-glazed clerestory windows.

Heintges provided building envelope consulting services during all phases of design and construction, including NYC Special Inspections.




Photographs by Whitney Starbuck Boykin.