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Sep 15, 2009 6:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Parrish shares design with the public

Sep 15, 2009 6:20 PM

New details about the Parrish Art Museum’s revised building plans were laid out for the public this week at a series of presentations by museum officials and architects from famed Swiss design firm Herzog & de Meuron.

New images and layouts not previously released detail the design of the proposed museum building in Water Mill, showing a broad glass atrium-like entryway, a large covered patio, a bench that circles the perimeter of the building, and parking stalls secreted within a grove of trees.

Museum officials also revealed that in their efforts to bring the project in at the lowest cost possible, the latest designs were drafted hand in hand with East Hampton builder Ben Krupinski and Amagansett architect Douglas Moyer.

“This was a design-build,” Parrish Director Terrie Sultan said after one of the public presentations in the theater of the museum’s existing facility in Southampton Village. “We had them involved at every step, so they could say, ‘This can be done like this for such an amount and like that for such an amount.’”

Ms. Sultan said that Mr. Krupinski had been one of the bidders for the construction work on the original plans for the new museum nearly two years ago, and that when the Parrish’s trustees decided to alter the designs in hopes of being able to move forward sooner, the builder was brought in from the start.

“A lot of what we’re doing is about construction within the time frame,” said Phillip Schermbeck, the associate architect to the project from Herzog & de Meuron, which designed the initial $80 million plans on a 14-acre Water Mill property purchased by the museum in 2005. The architects were later asked to scale back their vision of the museum’s new home so that construction could move forward almost immediately. The new project is expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million. “We’re not reinventing the wheel in terms of construction with this project,” he added.

Mr. Krupinski was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Schermbeck told a small audience of mostly architects last Wednesday that when the museum came back to the celebrated firm last spring and said it wanted to throw out the original plans in favor of a lower-cost design that could be funded in the current economic climate, it was embraced as a challenge in a changed world.

“When they came back to us with the challenge to make the building happen, with a very aggressive schedule and within a particular financial window, we were energized,” Mr. Schermbeck said. “This isn’t the largest project in our office, but this project is a particular inspiration for our office.”

The young architect said that he thinks the new design is a “stronger” project as a whole than the first design was.

The initial design called for a cluster of small interconnected buildings, each a conceptual facsimile of the small studios used by the East End’s acclaimed artists in the early and mid-20th century. The design emphasized the use of the natural light that drew artists to the region and focused on concrete construction.

The new building, a long, low-slung, double-roofed structure resembling from a distance the ubiquitous potato barns found in the area, will still rely on the effect of natural light thought the use of skylights—which will be shaded so as to allow for light to be blacked out if needed—and will also use concrete casting, though in a much less expansive form, Mr. Schermbeck said. It will still provide the climate-controlled secure storage facilities and office space and 12,000 square feet of gallery space—the primary needs the museum’s trustees have always are said are their reason for seeking to leave the village property in which the museum was created a century ago.

A continuous porch will surround the new building with a bench integrated into the outer wall. Narrow windows will provide portholes into the gallery spaces from outside, without robbing the galleries of needed wall space or letting in too much light. The double vaulted roof will be made of basic corrugated metal.

“We’ve created a very simple building out of very simple goals,” Mr. Schermbeck said.

The 630-foot-long building will be oriented generally north-south on the property, which will put it at an angle to the nearby highway, changing the appearance of the building greatly depending on which direction it is approached from. Its nearest corner will be set back just over 200 feet from Montauk Highway, which will have turning lanes added to ease the impacts of traffic going to the museum.

The extensive landscaping plan, which has not changed much from the original plans relies entirely on indigenous species. The property’s 200 parking spaces will be intermingled amid a stand of trees planted along the back of the property, the lights for the lot hung within the trees themselves.

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smallest cost possible? why not scrap the whole new building, put aside the egos, and work out a revised museum that uses the existing museum and the old library? this is a white elephant. have fun with the traffic getting to this art barn.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Sep 16, 09 7:26 PM
i prefered the scale of the first design with smaller more vernacular type buildings across the field, rather than a generic commercial warehouse, and wonder about an alternate solution of little prefab structures then linked in a creative way.
By eastender09 (29), southampton on Sep 16, 09 8:06 PM