Next Monday the Parrish Art Museum, located along the Montauk Highway in Water Mill, will officially break ground, introducing a beautiful new design by Pritzker Prize-winning architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. The Parrish Museum, which is currently settled within a storied Southamption Village construction, will next open its doors the summer of 2012 with a brand-new 34,500-square-foot modern structure consisting of two parallel single-story wings settled on a lush 14-acre site. The new museum has been thoughtfully designed to be discrete in nature, responding not only to the local architecture, but to the natural conditions of the site including the indigenous landscape.

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With pitched roofs joined by a central corridor that runs the length of the space, the interior aesthetic provides clean, crisp lines and a clear canvas ideal for presentation. Set on a strict north-south orientation, the interior will be awash in the celebrated light that has made the East End a magnet for artists. The exterior of the structure is a unique take on the local vernacular, harking back to the long, low-slung barns common to local potato and duck farms. With shaded seating rimmed along the periphery of the building, visitors are provided with an expansive space to take in the panoramic woodland views and intimately engage with a landscaping plan full of native vegetation.

Herzog and de Meuron, Water Mill, Parrish Art Museum, Museums, Museum Design, East End, Southampton Village

Monday’s groundbreaking will mark a defining moment in the museum’s decade-long struggle to expand its facilities. Facing objections from the area’s residents – who refuted any attempts to expand the historic Southampton Village construction – the museum resolved to build a new structure from scratch.

The current plan exhibited in the rendering above is in fact different from that originally proposed by Herzog & de Meuron. Due to budgetary constraints and an ailing economy, the museum had to scale back on a design that originally called for a cluster of several small, inter-connected buildings, reminiscent of the century-old backyard art studios of the area’s most renowned artists. Regardless of these changes, we feel that the new design, which weighs in at only a quarter of the price ($20 million), is still a feat in subdued elegance and site-sensitivity.

+ Parrish Art Museum