"The starting point for the new Parrish Art Museum is the artist’s studio in the East End of Long Island. We set the basic parameters for a single gallery space by distilling the studio’s proportions and adopting its simple house section with north-facing skylights. Two of these model galleries form wings around a central circulation spine that is then bracketed by two porches to form the basis of a straightforward building extrusion.
The floor plan of this extrusion is a direct translation of the ideal functional layout. A cluster of ten galleries defines the heart of the museum. The size and proportion of these galleries can be easily adapted by re-arranging partition walls within the given structural grid. To the east of the gallery core are located the back of house functions of administration, storage, workshops and loading dock. To the west of the galleries are housed the public program areas of the lobby, shop, and café with a flexible multi-purpose and educational space at the far western end.
An ordered sequence of post, beam and truss defines the unifying backbone of the building. Its materialisation is a direct expression of readily accessible building materials and local construction methods. The exterior walls of in situ concrete act as long bookends to the overall building form, while the grand scale of these elemental walls is tempered with a continuous bench formed at its base for sitting and viewing the surrounding landscape. Large overhangs running the full length of the building provide shelter for outdoor porches and terraces.
The placement of the building is a direct result of the skylights facing towards the north. This east-west orientation, and its incidental diagonal relationship within the site, generates dramatically changing perspective views of the building and further emphasises the building’s extreme yet simple proportions. It lays in an extensive meadow of indigenous grasses that refers to the natural landscape of Long Island."
Photo credits: Roland Halbe