Herzog & de Meuron's $26.2m building for Parrish Art Museum now open to the public
Earlier this month, the Parrish Art Museum opened its new home in Water Mill, NY. Designed by architecture duo Herzog & de Meuron, the 34,400 sq ft volume is a fitting base for this prestigious art museum. First established in 1898, the Parrish Art Museum now enjoys three times the exhibition space than it had at its former home in Southampton, NY.
Director of the Parrish Art Museum Terrie Sultan explains: “We could not be prouder of this amazing accomplishment. The new building is a beautiful embodiment of the creative legacy of the East End, and with light-filled galleries, a flexible multi-purpose performance space, and many other public amenities, the Parrish will take its place as a real centre for cultural engagement for the entire East End.”
The new facility opened to the public on 10 November with an entire long weekend of free exhibitions for the public. The institution’s permanent collection of 2,500 works from the nineteenth century to contemporary pieces are now displayed in light-filled exhibition galleries with some works available to view that until now have been kept in the museum archives.
For Herzog & de Meuron, the design of the Parrish Art Museum feeds off the institution’s site in Water Mill, drawing from sensitively cultured landscaping by Reed Hilderbrand. A concoction of meadows, scrub woodland and wetland, the natural surroundings inspired the Swiss architecture duo to open the museum building out onto this natural environment with a generous covered terrace. Sheltered by an overhanging roof, a continuous seating installation offers visitors space to contemplate their experience at the museum or dine al fresco.
A design statement from the architects reads: “An ordered sequence of post, beam and truss defines the unifying backbone of the building. Its materialisation is a direct expression of readily accessible building materials and local construction methods. The exterior walls of in situ concrete act as long bookends to the overall building form, while the grand scale of these elemental walls is tempered with a continuous bench formed at its base for sitting and viewing the surrounding landscape. Large overhangs running the full length of the building provide shelter for outdoor porches and terraces.”
Natural lighting plays a large part in the exhibition spaces as with all successful art museums and galleries. Generous north-facing skylights are coupled with smaller south-facing skylights to flood the displays with ‘the kind of light most artists prefer’. Supporting the 12,200 sq ft of flexible gallery space are a 2,400 sq ft multi-purpose room for films, lectures, conferences, public events and live performances and the necessary back of house and public programme areas.