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Parrish Art Museum Offers Two 'Sneak Previews' For New Water Mill Building

Originally Posted: August 12, 2009


Parrish Art Museum, Exterior view from Montauk Highway. All computer-generated images Herzog & de Meuron

Southampton - The Parrish Art Museum is offering the public two "sneak previews" of Herzog & de Meuron's reconceptualized design for its new museum, which will be constructed on a 14-acre site in Water Mill. Parrish Director Terrie Sultan and architect Philip Schmerbeck of Herzog & de Meuron will present the latest details of the project on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a..m, in the Museum's concert hall.

The presentations are free and open to the public. However, because seating is limited, those interested in attending should RSVP to Backy Zaloga at 631-283-2118, ext. 12.

The Museum's programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, at state agency.

Meuron's design embodies responsiveness to the indigenous landscape, an emphasis on the natural northern light and a dialog with the local architecture of the East End, especially the many artists' studios in the area. The proposed design, which has received the unanimous support of the Parrish's Board of Trustees, is now under review by the Planning Board of the Town of Southampton.

"We could not be more pleased with this design, which enables us to function as a true center for community engagement, serving a broad and diverse audience, including the thousands of school children who visit us each year, by providing access to stellar works of art and ways to explore our special artistic heritage" said Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum. "The new plan will allow us to build a beautiful facility within a sensible budget and a reasonable time frame. The design will be flexible, sustainable, and economically achievable."

"We are proud of the hard and expeditious work done by the Parrish team in re-conceptualizing the design under a tight timetable and challenging economic environment," said Co-Chairs Doug Polley and Carlo Bronzini Vender. "We are also pleased by the significant degree of commitment and financial support we have received from the Parrish community, which is now enabling us to move forward with this plan."

The building will provide more than 37,300 square feet of highly efficient space, which is nearly twice the size of the existing museum. With 12,000 square feet of unencumbered flexible galleries, including the first galleries dedicated to displaying the museum's important permanent collection, the design more than doubles the Parrish's current exhibition space. The museum will also include educational and multi-purpose spaces, a spacious and light-filled lobby, and a café and kitchen. The design incorporates administrative offices and on-site space for storage and care of the permanent collection.

Located on the north side of Montauk Highway, the proposed new Parrish will be a horizontal structure nestled discretely in the landscape, consisting of two parallel wings joined by a central circulation spine running the length of the building. To take advantage of natural northern light the building is placed on the site in a strict north-south orientation. The poured-in-place concrete walls are deeply recessed under a long and elegant white corrugated metal roof and will incorporate large sections of glass that permit views through the museum and into the surrounding landscape.

Like the building itself, the landscape will evoke the heritage of the East End. The site will be reshaped into a meadow with grasses and native wildflowers, rising toward an oak and blueberry woodland at the northern boundary. A special feature of the new design is a shaded porch surrounding the entire building and expanding to a large covered terrace, providing public areas for rest and contemplation. Conceived as a single, integrated work, the architecture and landscape will offer the public a unified and cohesive experience year-round.

"The new project is in a way a more radical and simplified version of our original design for the Parrish," said architect Jacques Herzog. "Its clarity in concept, in combination with straightforward construction details and building materials, can be seen as a process of purification in immediate response to the Museum's newly defined brief. Our proposal to collaborate from the beginning with local contractors on the realization of our ideas proved to be an extremely efficient and rewarding process for us as well as for the project."

In addition to Herzog & de Meuron, the Parrish is continuing to work with other existing members of the design team, including Reed Hilderbrand Associates Inc. as landscape architect, ARUP London as lighting designer and Nelson, Pope & Voorhis for civil and environmental engineering. Douglas Moyer Architect of East Hampton has been appointed as the Executive Architect partner for Herzog & de Meuron and S. L. Maresca & Associates as structural engineer. Ben Krupinski Builder will serve as general contractor for the project.

"Herzog & de Meuron's design reflects a profound understanding of the Parrish's mission, of the creative spirit of the East End community and of the spectacular natural beauty and distinctive light that have attracted so many artists to the Hamptons," said Sultan. "We are ready to give the East End, and the art world, a museum that is truly worthy of showcasing our permanent collection, mounting ambitious special exhibitions and presenting a full array of educational programs for children and adults."




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