NEW YORK, NY.- The Whitney Museum of American Art has commissioned the architecture firm LOT-EK to design and build a pop-up studio for the Museums education programs. The structure, which will be known as the Whitney Studio, is currently being built and is scheduled to open in April in the Sculpture Court of the Museums Marcel Breuer building, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street.
The Studio will provide much-needed space for the Whitneys education programs for adults, families, NYC public school students and teachers, teens, seniors, and visitors with disabilities. Programs will include classes, studio demonstrations, and art-making workshops. With uses ranging from a formal meeting space or seminar room to a screening room or messy art studio, the structure will provide flexible space for the Whitneys signature education offerings, as well as new experimental programs. It will also function as an exhibition space to showcase work created by participants in the programs.
LOT-EK, headed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, has a long relationship with the Whitney, where its project Mobile Dwelling Unit was presented in 2004; the project architect on the Studio is Virginie Stolz. The architectural concept employs six steel shipping containers stacked on two levels to form a single volume. Visible from Madison Avenue, the 472-square foot studio is designed to fit into half of the Whitneys open Sculpture Court, on the south side of the entry bridge. A diagonal, continuous band of glass runs along two sides and across the roof of the structure, providing natural light and offering Museum visitors a glimpse of activities inside. The double height space includes a triangular mezzanine and an interior designed for the production and display of art work.
Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitneys Alice Pratt Brown Director, noted: Education is absolutely central to the Whitneys mission. This new structure allows us to carry on with our education programs while our downtown building is under construction. We are particularly pleased to be working with the wonderful creative team at LOT-EK, which is also designing Pier 57s re-development using recycled containers, in close proximity to the Whitneys new building.
We are thrilled to work with the Whitney Museum again, especially on such an important project for the community, said LOT-EK partners Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano. Our initial intuition was to fill the moat of the Breuer Building with a monolithic black cube that emerges on Madison Avenue, exposing the artistic energy produced by the Museums educational activities.
Kathryn A. Potts, Associate Director and Helena Rubinstein Chair for Education at the Whitney, stated: At the heart of all Whitney education programs is a focus on artists. Artists like LOT-EK challenge us to think differently and to consider new possibilities, such as using recycled shipping containers to make functional studio space. The Whitney Studio will enable us to experiment with new ways of integrating art making and experiential learning with our more traditional work in the galleries. Coinciding with the 2012 Biennial, this is the perfect time to give our audiences the opportunity to learn for themselves how contemporary artists think and work.