Be innovative, but restrained. Embrace boldness, but be conscious of the historical environment. Create a timeless landmark, but do so in hurried time frame. The lofty expectations set upon architects are inherently contradictory. Modern architects today are pushed to conceive a new generation of public works that owe homage to their storied predecessors, yet also experiment, setting the next architectural precedent with their innovation. The collective drive to integrate technology into all aspects of architecture has resulted in architectural marvels as well as public eyesores.
In a mixed urban environment, such as New York, both occurrences are equally prevalent. I followed the buzz about the new Whitney before arriving in the city. While the building has received mixed reviews, and I agree that the elevators and staircases were not constructed without flaw, I think favorably upon the new structure. The raw creativity of the new Whitney is an example of how architects can use technological advances to make public space accessible and interactive. Liberated, the Whitney has opened itself up to natural light, inviting the public to easily maneuver through its open galleries and traverse its multi-tiered balconies. It is on these balconies, on which culture and nature collide, that the viewer attains a sense of fulfillment. Renzo Piano, the chief architect of the revamped Whitney, designed an intellectually stimulating building that matches the daring nature of the museum’s contemporary and modern American art collection.