Hauser & Wirth announced today that its new building at 542 West 22nd Street, designed by Selldorf Architects, will open on May 2nd, 2020 with the inaugural show ‘The Bride of God.’ This 36,000 square foot, 5-storey gallery is Hauser & Wirth’s first purpose-built, ground-up building. The goal, like all of Selldorf’s previous designs for Hauser & Wirth’s galleries, is to create strong, well-proportioned spaces that place art at the forefront of the visitor’s experience. Here, beautifully articulated and variously scaled volumes of space throughout the structure feature natural light and flexible configurations.
Selldorf Architects has collaborated with Hauser & Wirth on its spaces internationally since the founding of the gallery in 1992. Earlier projects have involved the adaptive reuse of an existing building – the former Roxy roller rink and an Upper East Side townhouse in New York City, a former brewery complex in Zurich, a landmarked bank building in London, an abandoned historic flour mill in downtown Los Angeles. For 542 West 22nd Street, the goal is again to create distinctive space that puts visitors in direct contact with the art on view. Site-specific artist interventions throughout areas of the building – including in stairways, elevators, and other public spaces – further demonstrate Hauser & Wirth’s commitment to the importance of engaging with art and artists.
West Chelsea has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. While the industrial and warehouse character of the area is evolving quickly, West 22nd Street retains several original red-brick buildings that speak to the district’s history as a place of industry and production. Seeking to present a contextual and sympathetic attitude to these surroundings while still creating forward-looking architecture, Selldorf Architects has given 542 West 22nd Street a masonry façade. Its dark grey palette is comprised of concrete blocks and zinc panels, punctuated by large glazed openings offering views out of and into the building. The concrete blocks are sustainably sourced and incorporate recycled waste glass and aggregate.
Behind the stately façade of this building, large column-free spaces provide flexibility for a wide range of installation approaches. Careful detailing in the galleries distinguishes their atmosphere from the typical contemporary art warehouse vocabulary. Polished concrete floors and white plaster walls throughout are designed to create an unobtrusive setting that foregrounds the art on view.
The need to load large works in and out and throughout the building with ease on a constrained urban site drove the project’s overall circulation plan. The circulation core, which includes a very large freight elevator as well as a passenger elevator, main stair, and egress stair, is located toward the front façade on West 22nd Street. This creates an L-shaped gallery on the ground floor, with large skylights created by a setback at the rear of the 18-foot high space. To accommodate the exhibition of exceptionally large works of art, another 18-foot high, column-free and clerestoried gallery on the 5th floor has a large roof hatch that enables works to be craned into the building from the street.
The ground floor and second floor spaces that front West 22nd Street feature 16-foot and 12-foot tall glass doors respectively that completely fold away, opening the façade up to further engage the public with the art on view. On the fifth floor, an expansively scaled 10 foot-square picture window provides another sightline into and out of the gallery. In addition to exhibition space, the second floor includes a multi-purpose bar and event space, which will be used for artist talks and other public programs and gatherings. Private offices and showrooms occupy the third and fourth levels.
For more information, see Hauser & Wirth’s website here.