Flood Mitigation in New York’s Whitney Museum Design
03 August 2017

Partner Scott Newman writes on flood mitigation at the Whitney Museum:

“The location of the new Whitney Museum of American Art adjacent to the Hudson River is particularly sensitive to water level rise and storm surge. The design of the building by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper Robertson anticipates the effects of climate change and protects the Museum’s staff and collection from water level rise. In the original design, the team elevated the lobby an additional foot above the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommended 9 foot elevation to 10 feet. All art galleries begin on the fifth floor and extend upward with no permanent gallery or art storage below level five. When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in October 2012, the museum was well under construction and basic elements of the building’s design were already in place to protect the structure in the case of flooding.

The timing of the storm enabled the team to observe how the building could withstand a serious flooding event. The structure withstood the storm well, but the unprecedented high water levels brought over six million gallons of river water into the building’s 30-foot deep basement. The devastating effects of the storm on New York’s infrastructure inspired a transformation in the practice of flood mitigation and the timing of the Whitney Museum project has put the project team at the forefront of addressing future resilience.”

Read more at Walls & Ceilings.