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Wanna Glide Through Renzo Piano’s New Whitney Downtown? UPDATED

Now you can!

Architect Renzo Piano’s rendering of the planned new Whitney Downtown

Listen to Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg narrate the video below, giving a preview of the brave new Whitney. (Groundbreaking: May 24) The clip was produced despite Renzo Piano‘s usual distaste for fly-throughs, Weinberg told the local Community Board on Monday. He confided that the floors will be wood (not studio-style concrete, as they appear below). The ceilings will also be different.

These cavernous spaces look suitable for monumental works, but we can only hope they will be subdivided for the Edward Hoppers and John Marins. (The smaller uptown spaces may not be an option, because negotiations are reportedly proceeding to cede the Breuer-designed Whitney flagship building, at least temporarily, to the Metropolitan Museum for its modern and contemporary collections.

Speaking of Marins, where are watercolors and other light-sensitive works going to be shown? The galleries in the walk-through look drenched in sunlight: great river views; not so great for viewing art.

We can only hope that the fundraising keeps chugging along: Weinberg told the community board that 70% of the $680-million target has been raised (as reported by Erica Orden in the Wall Street Journal).That would mean approximately $100 million has been come in since last May, including the proceeds from the museum’s sale of its adjoining townhouses, which were once expected to be used for an on-site Madison Avenue expansion.

The plan is to open in 2015.

UPDATE: Why has this video gone dark?

The cladding of light-colored metal panels comes straight out of the Piano playbook: Think Morgan Library and Museum in New York and High Museum in Atlanta.

For much more (including photos) about the latest news of the Downtown Whitney, go to Pete Davies‘ post, Whitney Unveils New Designs, Divorces the Highline!, on the Curbed NY blog.

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