Architects: HHF Architects + Ai WeiWei
Location: Salt Point, New York, USA
Design Team: HERLACH HARTMANN FROMMENWILER & AI WEIWEI with Tom Strub, Fumiko Takahama
Structural Engineering: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY
Construction Management: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY
Design year: 2006-2007
Construction year: 2007-2008
Client: Christophe W. Mao / Chambers Fine Art
Budget: US $321,700
Constructed Area: 373 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan
The Artfarm is located near Salt Point in upstate New York (1.5h drive from the City), on the site of an existing private residence, built in the 80ies. The client is an art collector and owner of Chambers Fine Art, a well known gallery located in New York City and Beijing and which is specialized in contemporary chinese art.
The building is designed as a gallery for a professional art collection. On the interior it’s subdivided into different sized showrooms, an office space and spaces designated to store art.
The outer shape is a consequence of the used pre-engineered and easy to assemble type of steel building, which often gets used for agricultural purposes in that area. With ist abstract metallic appearance the structure becomes an equal member of a whole groupe of sculptures which are spread out in the landscape. The three volumes are put on a solid concrete slabs, which follow the existing grade on the site. The different levels are connected through a continues cascading ramp in the middle axis. This middle hallway with its ramp works as access for all spaces, allows an easy way of exchanging big pieces of art between storage and showrooms and works at the same time as a picture gallery.
Approaching the Artfarm building from outside you don’t know what’s expecting you on the inside. Even though there are only three windows existing to the north (and the end of each hall, above the middle ramp, this is the only visual connection to the outside and allows a view into the wood), the building with its pure white interiors is astonishing bright on the inside. The massive concrete floor and the white shiny PVC batt insulation are creating a quiet and cool space. For delicate goods such as paintings etc. consistent indoor temperatures are needed, which is a challenge in an area with such enourmous change in temperatures.
With the concept of an hermetic closed and insulated envelope, the existing heating and cooling needs only to conserve the climate and support it when needed. This seems to work well, during the first summer the cooling had never to be turned on, even on really hot days it was comfortable and cool on the inside.