Whitney Museum of American Art Builds Education Studio Designed by LOT-EK

The Whitney Museum of American Art has commissioned the architecture firm LOT-EK to design and build a pop-up studio for the Museum’s education programs. The structure, which will be known as the Whitney Studio, is currently being built and is scheduled to open this month in the Sculpture Court of the Museum’s Marcel Breuer building, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street.

Whitney Museum Image: LOT-EK

The Studio will provide much-needed space for the Whitney’s education programs for adults, families, NYC public school students and teachers, teens, seniors, and visitors with disabilities. Programs will include classes, studio demonstrations, and art-making workshops. With uses ranging from a formal meeting space or seminar room to a screening room or messy art studio, the structure will provide flexible space for the Whitney’s signature education offerings, as well as new experimental programs. It will also function as an exhibition space to showcase work created by participants in the programs.

LOT-EK, headed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, has a long relationship with the Whitney, where its project Mobile Dwelling Unit was presented in 2004; the project architect on the Studio is Virginie Stolz. The architectural concept employs six steel shipping containers stacked on two levels to form a single volume. Visible from Madison Avenue, the 472-square foot studio is designed to fit into half of the Whitney’s open Sculpture Court, on the south side of the entry bridge. A diagonal, continuous band of glass runs along two sides and across the roof of the structure, providing natural light and offering museum visitors a glimpse of activities inside. The double height space includes a triangular mezzanine and an interior designed for the production and display of art work.

LOT-EK is an award-winning design studio based in New York and Naples, Italy. Founded in 1993 by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, they’ve been involved with commercial, institutional and residential projects globally. In addition, LOT-EK has conceived and executed exhibition design and site-specific installations for major cultural institutions and museums, including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center and the Guggenheim. LOT-EK’s founding partners, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, have Masters degrees in Architecture and Urban Design from the Universita’ di Napoli, Italy (1989), and completed post-graduate studies at Columbia University, New York (1990-1991). Besides heading their professional practice, they also teach at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Architecture, in Cambridge, MA. They also lecture at major universities and cultural institutions throughout the US and abroad. In December 2011, Ada and Giuseppe were recognized as USA Booth Fellows of Architecture & Design by United States Artists (USA).

The Whitney Museum is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York City. Museum hours are: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. General admission: $18. Full-time students and visitors ages 19–25 and 62 & over: $12. Visitors 18 & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6–9 p.m. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.

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