A first look at the $45 million redesign of the Storm King Art Center

The Storm King Art Center in upstate New York will embark on a transformative $45 million overhaul this fall that aims to improve the visitor experience and environmental biodiversity of the beloved sculpture park. of 500 acres.

Storm King president John P. Stern (the grandson of arts patron Ralph E. Ogden, who founded the center in 1960 with Stern’s father, its former president H. Peter Stern) explains that the increase in attendance over the past decade and projections for the future have made overhaul essential.

“The advent of social media and our growing programming and exposures have all contributed to Storm King having more fans and friends,” Stern said. The arts journal. “We already have this unparalleled collection and beautiful landscape in the heart of the Hudson Highlands, so this project was about how we could somehow make the experience even better for our visitors.”

Visitor numbers at Storm King have grown exponentially over the past decade, from approximately 80,000 visitors in 2012 to nearly 222,000 last year and an expected attendance of 240,000 visitors in 2022.

Several international architecture and landscape design firms are involved in the project, including Dublin-based firm Heneghan Peng Architects; New York-based WXY Architecture and Urban Design, which worked closely with London firm Gustafson Porter and Bowman; and landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Rendering of the new curatorial, manufacturing and maintenance building at the Storm King Art Center. © Storm King Art Center.

One of the major components of the project includes the construction of a 7,200 square foot building dedicated to conservation, manufacturing and maintenance, which will have 22 foot high ceilings and five large entrance doors. access, a 1,000 sq. ft. carpentry shop, an 800 sq. ft. paint booth, and other workspaces. The intentionally low-profile structure, the first purpose-built building on the site, will be “instrumental in continuing our work with artists on the scale that we do”, said Nora Lawrence, Artistic Director and Chief Curator of Storm King.

She adds, “We’ve had large-scale sculptures in recent years that had to travel all the way to Virginia to be painted, which is obviously not an ideal situation in terms of cost, logistics, and preservation of the sculpture. herself. . There is always an active rotation of jobs that require different types of care, so the ability to do some of these large conservation and maintenance projects on site will be a game changer for us and what we are able to offer the audience .”

The building will be able to accommodate artists in residence, in particular artists taking part in Outlook program, an initiative launched in 2013 to temporarily showcase the work of emerging and mid-career artists, which this year supported the site-specific commission by American sculptor Brandon Ndife shade trees (2022). Next year he will facilitate a commission from German artist RA Walden.

Rendering of the new reception area at the Storm King Art Center. Background right: Alexander Calder, the bow (1975). Ralph E. Ogden Foundation Purchase Fund and Gift © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. © Storm King Art Center.

Another branch of the project involves consolidating the center parking lots into a single 580-space lot, which will open up 4.5 acres of landscape for more art and programming. The lot will include charging stations for electric vehicles, easier access for buses and shuttles and dedicated parking for carpool vehicles. It will lead to a welcome center including a ticketing pavilion, a 4,700 square foot outdoor lobby and other amenities.

“We wanted to sequence the arrival so that people leave traffic behind, move into a service area, then descend into Storm King proper and no longer see any other terrain or roads,” says Róisín Heneghan, co- founder of Heneghan Peng. Architects. “We also wanted to minimize the facilities that needed to be placed as much as possible.”

Claire Weisz, founding director of WXY Architecture and Urban Design, adds: “All the buildings, whether it is the conservation building, the gender-neutral restrooms or the information kiosk, play into a shared holistic plan so as not to separate the landscape from the architecture. Rather, it’s about bridging the interior and exterior space that wasn’t present in Storm King before, and making sure those spaces contribute to the environment.

Going forward, visitors will enter Storm King via an S-shaped path and encounter Alexander Calder’s seminal biomorphic sculpture for the first time. the arch (1940/1975) before seeing pieces by Mark di Suvero, Mark Dion, David Von Schlegell and Robert Grosvenor.

Rendering of the new South Meadow, salvaged from an old parking lot, at the Storm King Art Center. © Storm King Art Center.

More than 600 trees will be planted to increase shade and plant biodiversity on the grounds, including dogwoods, red buds, liquidambars, tulip trees, red maples and poplars. Improved water management systems will also be installed throughout to ensure that on-site water stays there.

“We wanted to think about what might help bring Storm King further into the 21st century in terms of landscaping principles, or how to make it more resilient by looking at how water moves across the site and how planting could be augmented and diverse,” said Beka Sturges, director of Reed Hilderbrand. “It’s also interesting to think about how landscaping can draw more attention to work associated with water or woods, which seems much more secondary than that of meadows and lawns.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2024. It is funded in part by a $2.6 million grant from New York State; $2 million from Empire State Development; and $600,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority under a program dedicated to carbon neutral development.

“There have been so many positive changes at Storm King as our profile has grown and continues to grow,” says Lawrence. “The kinds of projects we’ve been able to produce with artists have intensified and changed, and now we’re better equipping people for their tours.”

Storm King is currently hosting a major exhibition by Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu. Next year it will unveil a permanent work by renowned American sculptor Martin Puryear, the US representative at the 2019 Venice Biennale, which takes the form of a 20-foot-tall curved brick dome. The piece will join more than 100 permanent sculptures at the center, including pieces by Andy Goldsworthy, Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi.

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