New York's Park Avenue Armory, originally built in 1861 for the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard and restored by Herzog & de Meuron in 2007, is about to be temporarily taken over by Rafael Viñoly. On April 30th 2014 Artvest Partners will launch Spring Masters New York, "a fair for art produced between antiquity and the 20th century, which corresponds with Christie’s and Sotheby’s signature Impressionism and modern art auctions". Viñoly's hexagonal grid of exhibition rooms will fill the 55,000 square foot Drill Hall in an attempt to break with the monotony of the rectangular grid format.
Built in 1861, the Park Avenue Armory Park functioned as both a military facility and a social club for the prestigious Seventh Regiment of the National Guard of President Lincoln’s volunteer militia. Now, the 210,000 sqf five story building (which occupies an entire city block) serves as the home for a not-for-profit cultural institution where visual and performing arts can take place within a not so traditional setting. In 2007, the building began a comprehensive revitalization project as it had fallen into a state of disrepair with Herzog & de Meuron as the lead designers (by the way, have you seen their new website?). Herzog & de Meuron have embraced the history, craftsmanship, and the inherent contrast of the Armory’s spaces to restore the interiors to their original elegance. “Park Avenue Armory is a richly layered building of outstanding historical significance that we are treating like a monument, revealing the physical traces produced over time, preserving it for the future and above all reinventing it,” explained Herzog & de Meuron. More about the restoration after the break.