This is the fourth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours!
David Zwirner Gallery
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY
Lisa Green, art world veteran and partner at Selldorf Architects, guided our fourth Building of the Day Tour, the 2016 AIANY Design Award-winning David Zwirner 20th Street Gallery. The concrete façade of the 30,000-square-foot, ground-up art gallery elegantly distinguishes the space from the many brick converted warehouses and garages that make up Chelsea’s gallery district. Poured in place in five stages over the course of six weeks, the 8-inch pine formboard concrete façade was an ambitious undertaking guided by a concrete consultant and expert who has worked closely with I.M. Pei.
Informed by a long relationship between Zwirner and Selldorf, the public exhibition spaces were built to accommodate Zwirner’s collection of minimalist estate artists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Fred Sandback (currently on view), as well as borrowed works from museums for special exhibitions. On the ground floor is a 5,000-square-foot, columnless gallery that can be readily adapted with temporary walls to fit the needs of each exhibition.
The cool and expansive space, with double-height ceilings, northern-facing sawtooth skylights, and a poured concrete floor, contrasts with the smaller and more intimate gallery following upstairs, with 14-foot ceilings, white oak floors, warm, southern light exposure, and contractible roman shades.
The third, fourth, and fifth floors hold a mixture of office and private viewing spaces, each illuminated by natural light. The five green roof spaces, including a beautiful rooftop deck, were designed by Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, whose designs are on view next door on the High Line. Despite the temperature and moisture control systems required in art spaces, Zwirner was committed to green building standards, making the David Zwirner 20th Street Gallery the first commercial art gallery to achieve LEED Gold status.
Join us tomorrow for the underground retail experience, Turnstyle!
About the author: Julia Christie is the Office Manager at AIANY / Center for Architecture.