Daily digest: Could the Breuer Building become a gym? Also, the NYC subway bounces back and more

Feel The Breuer Burn

Daily digest: Could the Breuer Building become a gym? Also, the NYC subway bounces back and more

The Breuer Building at 945 Madison Avenue was home to the Met Breuer from 2016 through 2020 and now hosts the Frick Collection. Could it become a gym next? (Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons, accessed under the CC BY 2.0 license)

Good morning and welcome back to the start of a new week. As we move into fall (officially this time, starting Wednesday), expect a respite from the extreme heat that’s been punishing cities across the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Investors reportedly eye turning the Breuer Building into a fancy gym

What a long, strange road it’s been for the hulking granite museum building at 975 Madison Avenue. Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1966 to host the Whitney Museum of American Art (where it remained until 2014), the building underwent a dramatic interior revitalization and eventually reopened in 2016 as the home of the Met Breuer, a contemporary art-focused satellite of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alas, with the COVID-19 pandemic stressing the Met’s pocketbook, the museum turned over the last three years of its lease to the Frick Collection earlier this March. So what will happen once renovation is complete at the Frick’s Gilded Age mansion home and the institution vacates the Breuer Building?

According to Artnet News, the Whitney, which still owns the building, is looking into selling the National Register of Historic Places-listed structure. Although nothing is final, brokers are reportedly putting together lists of potential buyers, and one alternative that’s been floated is converting the architectural icon into a stylish (and likely expensive) gym. Could the Breuer Building go the way of Chelsea’s Limelight?

H/t to Artnet News

New York City subway ridership hits a pandemic high

The return of in-person schooling in New York City has reportedly driven public transportation ridership to record high levels (for the pandemic, anyways). Last week, 2.77 million riders took to the subway on Monday, September 13, while a little over 3 million road on Tuesday, September 14, according to the MTA. While these numbers aren’t anything to sneeze at, and represent record highs since March of 2020 when ridership dropped off precipitously, all of these figures are still 50 percent lower than the respective ridership rates of 2019. The MTA is still hurting from its prolonged deprivation of ridership revenue, and this latest news, even though it’s good, shows that there’s a long way to go to before we get back to normal.

H/t to the New York Post

Klaus Biesenbach leaves the MOCA for Berlin, igniting controversy

Three years after Klaus Biesenbach left his position as director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at MoMA in New York to lead Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), he’s on the move yet again. On September 10, Biesenbach announced that he would be leaving the MOCA to lead the Neue Nationalgalerie (fresh off of a David Chipperfield refresh) and the future Museum of the 20th Century, an under-construction offshoot of the Neue Nationalgalerie. The only problem? His departure comes only a week after the MOCA announced that Johanna Burton had been named the museum’s new executive director, a role in which she would be sharing management responsibilities and freeing up Biesenbach to focus more on the art and curation side of things.

When asked about the move, Biesenbach admitted that the timing was inopportune but that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he couldn’t pass up. For their part, MOCA trustees and board members surveyed by the Times were reportedly caught off guard and would have structured their executive director search differently if they knew Biesenbach would be leaving.

H/t to the New York Times

Sherwin-Williams adds minority contractors to massive Cleveland project after backlash

Sherwin-Williams has added five new construction and management firms to its $600 million Cleveland headquarters project after civil rights groups complained about the lack of minority- and women-owned companies. Protestors complained that the company wasn’t hitting the diversity and small business targets required for the development aid and tax incentives Sherwin-Williams was receiving from the city for its 1-million-square foot headquarters in downtown. While the company has promised that it will include more minority-owned architecture and engineering firms on the project at a later date, local activists still aren’t happy, claiming the new firms were only given small roles.

H/t to Construction Dive

Foster + Partners unveils its first project in Chile

A long hall under a concrete vaulted roof
The repurposed hall of La Fabrica, full of timber stalls for retail and recreation (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners has revealed its first project in Chile, a new master plan to convert a shuttered factory in Santiago into a mixed-use urban quarter, complete with residential units. The historic mid-century factory at the heart of the La Fabrica once supported a booming textile industry in the city, as well as low-slung housing and daycare in the surrounding neighborhood. Beneath the vaulted concrete roof, Foster + Partners will insert mass timber structures to create new retail and social structures, and 550 residential units will sprawl out and connect with the new district.

How drastically will World of Interiors change under new leadership?

Posh shelter mag World of Interiors is getting its third editor in the publication’s 40 year history, as Hamish Bowles will replace Rupert Thomas, World of Interiors’ lead editor for 22 years (and a protégé and successor to its founder, Min Hogg). Bowles is a 25-year veteran of Vogue and has promised to lead the magazine into new realms of digital and video content; will an institution that’s historically eschewed trends in favor of refined style gracefully weather the pivot?

H/t to Curbed