Alternative to Piano’s Whitney Museum / Axis Mundi


Axis Mundi … remember that firm?  Back when controversy surrounded Jean Nouvel’s proposed tower for the MoMA’s expansion, the firm offered an alternative stacked design highly different from Nouvel’s metallic creation. It seems  Axis Mundi is back for the shock value as the firm has just released images for their version of the new Whitney Museum of American Art.    The current design, led by , utilizes his characteristically light and technical aesthetics (check out his Shard which is under construction) to create an elegant addition critics have challenge may be too “timid” – Axis Mundi’s design is anything but.  Their proposal incorporates a loud exoskeleton that not only seems completely out of scale, but also fights with its neighborhood for attention rather than settling into its context.   The geometry, which has been shaped by the sight lines and street grid of the city, intends to reference Breuer’s Whitney on Madison Avenue.   As The Architect’s Newspaper Blog noted, the proposal mentions nothing of cost – one of the biggest obstacles Piano is facing.

Check out more images of Axis Mundi’s proposal after the break.

© Axis Mundi
© Axis Mundi
© Axis Mundi
© Axis Mundi
Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Alternative to Piano’s Whitney Museum / Axis Mundi" 21 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <>


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    Dystopically looking like a strung heap of whatever, squeezing out the inside for no particular reason.
    Too much strainig for effect, too much to be beautiful.

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    There’s only one nice thing here: Jeff Koons’s work. Is it legal to use somebody’s work to promote our own? Just a question.

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    There are no plans here, so let’s discuss looks…
    First of all, I don’t blame anybody for not liking it. And have to say, Piano is my favorite architect.
    Having said that, I can’t believe but…I love this! Pushy, extravagant, kitsch, and original: so NY! Its facades balance between shambles and sophistication, respectively references to the Meatpacking District’s recent past and future aspirations. And what’s best, Gehry’s not involved! :)

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    Based on the five pictures above, I rather like the Axis Mundi design. It has a boldness that actually is evocative of the upper east side Whitney and I like what appears to be an integration of exterior space into the building near the Highline. I’m curious to see more now.

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    i think its bold…. its like a sculpture..
    no wait.. tone it down…

    lets have less personality and become more sterile…

    we should not have character… merely a seamless blend of…

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    So what does Renzo Piano have to do with this building? I mean, he’s not listed anywhere on the design team, the Axis Mundi website, or really, anywhere. So what part is he playing in all this?

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    It’s a statement building that might energize that part of the city. Piano’s the technically proficient and gloriously detailed choice, but sometimes you need something brash and odd. I actually really like this project, purely from an aesthetic point of view.

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    why doesn’t this firm obtain their own commissions rather than gaining publicity for trying to usurp someone else’s? perhaps there’s a reason?

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    The cowboy has just sauntered over after a few Lone Stars at the local watering hole known as Hogs & Heifers….edumacate yourselves to the neighborhood pinheads!

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is so much cooler than Renzo’s – his design is clad in tan colored steel panels-that’s ugly folks!

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    hello everybody,I come from china, nice to have a deep talk….join me QQ:249473425

    Best wish,

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