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Construction & Design

First Lady falls in love with new Whitney Museum

First Lady Michelle Obama fell in love with the new Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum that builders have made a miracle on the Hudson.

Turner Construction pumped a staggering six million gallons of water — the equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized pools — out of the site in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. They then created a flood mitigation system similar to those found on aircraft carriers and erected seven-ton steel doors to protect priceless artwork from the elements.

First Lady Michelle Obama officially opened the new Whitney Museum on May 1.
First Lady Michelle Obama officially opened the new Whitney Museum on May 1. 2015 ©Turner Strategic Marketing

Turner also built the largest column-less gallery in New York and held it up with 25 ton steel i-beams. “It’s a Renzo Piano building, which means every little detail is perfect — even all of the duct work ribbing faces the same direction,ˮ said a Turner spokesman.

Mrs Obama officially opened the 220,000 s/f museum at Gansevoort and Washington Street, near the High Line park on May 1 saying, “I fell in love with the building. It is an amazing space.”

Turner provided construction management services for the museum which, as well as exhibitions space, has a conservation laboratory, restaurant, museum shop, landscaped outdoor gallery, 170-seat theater with views of the Hudson River, and a multi-use black box theater for film, video and performances.

The building, clad in enamel steel plate, required four years of pre-construction work, conceptual design and consideration for geothermal system alternatives, co-generation, air filtration, and under floor air systems.

The building also has a 75 kW reciprocating gas fire co-generation plant.

“Turner is extremely proud to have been a part of this monumental project,ˮ said Joseph Byrne, Vice President & Operations Manager, Turner Construction Company.

“As a firm that seeks to establish a new standard of construction excellence, we relished the opportunity to be challenged by visionary architects Renzo Piano and Cooper Robertson, two firms that continually redefine the built environment.

“In the end, I think we overcame a lot of obstacles (i.e. Super Storm Sandy), and worked in lockstep with the design firms to deliver a museum of pristine quality that exceeds the world’s expectations.”

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