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Whitney Museum donates Education Studio to Socrates Sculpture Park
Whitney Education Studio.

NEW YORK, NY.- Socrates Sculpture Park and the Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that the Whitney’s freestanding educational studio, designed by the innovative architectural firm LOT-EK, will be donated to Socrates Sculpture Park.

"We are delighted to partner with the Whitney Museum and LOT-EK to reuse and adapt this unique structure,” said John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park. “Rarely does a win-win situation arise that offers such a remarkable opportunity to repurpose architecture, and we look forward to working with our partners at NYC Parks to explore ways that it may be reused and adapted to benefit the community here in Long Island City. The structure will be moved temporarily to a storage facility while plans are developed for its possible reuse. By offering Socrates the 472-square-foot pop-up studio, the Whitney Museum has generously presented us with an opportunity to explore the possibility of our first indoor space, which may be used to expand the park’s longstanding free arts education program. Other possible adaptable uses may include a gallery, visitor area, or administrative space.”

“The LOT-EK studio we commissioned in 2012 has provided much-needed space for hundreds of educational programs over the last two years,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “As we prepare to open the Whitney’s new downtown building in 2015—designed with dedicated education facilities—we are thrilled that the structure has found a new home at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. This is a wonderful example of creative and multi-layered recycling. LOT-EK’s project began with discarded materials and is now being repurposed for use at a once abandoned landfill that has itself been recycled into a leading NYC cultural destination.”

The studio structure, commissioned by the Whitney and located for the past two years in the Sculpture Court of the Museum’s building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street, will be de-installed this month and removed by crane in June. Its purpose was to provide desperately needed space for the Whitney’s education programs—including classes, studio demonstrations, and art-making workshops —for adults, families, NYC public school students and teachers, teens, seniors, and visitors with disabilities.

LOT-EK’s architectural concept employed six steel shipping containers stacked on two levels to form a single volume. Visible from Madison Avenue, the 472-square-foot studio was designed to fit into half of the Whitney’s open Sculpture Court, on the south side of the entry bridge. A diagonal, continuous band of glass along two sides and across the roof of the structure provided natural light and offered museum visitors a glimpse of activities inside.

LOT-EK, headed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, has a long relationship with the Whitney, where its project Mobile Dwelling Unit was presented in 2004. “LOT-EK is delighted that the Whitney Studio structure will have a second life with Socrates Sculpture Park, particularly given its cultural background,” said Ada Tolla, LOT-EK principal and co-founder. “We are very excited to work with Socrates to determine how this flexible space could best work for them.”

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