NEW WINDSOR, NY .- Storm King Art Center
is set to embark on an ambitious capital project to enhance and sustain into the future the extraordinary experience of art and nature it offers its visitors, artists, and community. Breaking ground later this year and due to be completed in 2024, the project comprises a new Welcome Sequence with consolidated parking and accessible amenities; the construction of a Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building; and a holistic approach to landscape stewardship and environmental sustainability.
For more than 60 years, Storm Kings vision of art in nature has inspired visitors and artists alike. The $45 million capital project represents a significant commitment to creatively improve and preserve the Art Centers 500-acre site, securing its unique landscape for decades to come. To realize this vision, the Art Center is working with a global team of consultants, including project partners heneghan peng architects, from Dublin, New York-based WXY architecture + urban design, and landscape architecture firms Gustafson Porter + Bowman, of London, and Reed Hilderbrand of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut.
John P. Stern, Storm King President, said: Storm King is unlike anywhere else. Large-scale sculpture, trees, mountainsthe combination is stunning. For people seeing it for the first time, that feeling of joy from a new experience can be life changing. This ambitious capital project enriches the absolute best things about Storm King while helping chart our path to a more sustainable future. It allows us to advance all areas of our work and mission; to support our growing community of visitors, artists, and staff; and to preserve our extraordinary site and collection for future generations.
In the last decade, Storm King has experienced a tremendous increase in visitation and programming. Reflecting the urgent need to support continued growth, the newly announced project prioritizes the visitor experience and advances the Art Centers leadership in landscape stewardship and environmental sustainability. The overall design and vision are guided by three core values: A Gracious Arrival, Support for Artistic Vision, and A Sustainable Future. The result is a collaborative endeavor that centers peoplestaff, artists, visitorsand radically reinvigorates Storm Kings most vital and dynamic qualities.
Amy S. Weisser, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Projects at Storm King, said of the project vision and partners: While each design firm brings a distinct toolbox of expertise, their collective approach is grounded in a shared set of values which aligns with Storm Kings. They have a similar deference to art and nature and dedication to being in and of the outdoors, to creativity and collaboration, to care for people and nature, and to building sustainable infrastructure. With its delicate impact on the land, this project demonstrates that a museum building is a platform for experience.
Recognizing Storm Kings regional importance and the projects focus on sustainability, New York State is providing $2.6 million in support. Empire State Development has agreed to provide $2 million, as recommended by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Additionally, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing $600,000 through the Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program.
Hope Knight, Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner, said: Storm King Art Center is a world-class cultural attraction that brings visitors from around the globe to the region, especially as more families look to explore outdoor attractions, post-pandemic. We are pleased to support Storm King as they continue to grow so that future generations can experience truly breathtaking art combined with the natural beauty of the region.
Doreen Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said: NYSERDA commends Storm King and its partners for assembling a team of experts to advance their vision for site sustainability and clean and resilient buildings as part of their overall master plan and modernization work. This capital project, including new electrified heating and cooling that will help bring down capital costs and long-term operational expenses, will enhance the experience of visitors, create healthy and creative spaces to enjoy, and reduce emissions at this beautiful natural venuea win-win for all involved.
A Gracious Arrival
A new Welcome Sequence will meet visitors immediate needs upon arrival with a series of accessible pavilions offering hospitality and essential amenitiesorientation, restrooms, and group gathering spacesin an easy-to-navigate parking area rich with natural landscaping. This new area will also eliminate visitors encounters with cars while exploring the Art Center by removing the parking lots within the grounds and consolidating visitor parking to a forested edge of the site.
Each pavilion will be thoughtfully detailed and constructed of natural materials to maximize functionality while remaining deferential to the landscape and art. The landscape itself will be carefully shaped and populated with native plants that intuitively guide visitors through an outdoor lobby and into the grounds. The pathways throughout are designed for universal accessibility. This seamless transition from entry to exploration focuses attention from image to activity, removing distractions and facilitating the experience of being in nature.
Róisín Heneghan, Cofounder of heneghan peng architects, said: It was important for us to approach elements as different types of spaces rather than buildingsvisitors come to Storm King to be outdoors. We interrogated the indoor/outdoor duality as much as possible, continually questioning how much of the design could be part of nature. The team spent a lot of time walking through the site, considering how visitors arrive at elements in the landscape. This led us to create spaces whose placements are so integrated that they feel intuitive.
Claire Weisz, Founding Principal of WXY architecture + urban design, added: Storm King is very much a living landscape, and our light-touch design approach maintains the focus on art in the landscape. The landscape and art remain the protagonists, with supportive, rather than competing, architectural elements. Every structure is porous, designed to support visitor movement and exploration of Storm Kings different environments while opening up multiple sight lines.
Design work on the project commenced in 2018, following an international design competition led by Susanna Sirefman, President of Dovetail Design Strategists. This is the first North American project for internationally recognized heneghan peng architects.
Support for Artistic Vision
A new Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building will create a facility to expand the Art Centers ability to realize extraordinary projects and its support of artists visions on a grand scale. As a purpose-built structure conceived as a venue for creative collaboration, the building will serve as a workshop, studio, mechanical shop, storage space, and office. This flexible and highly functional space will support the work that has made Storm King the preeminent place for outdoor art. In addition to housing conservation efforts for Storm Kings most valued sculptures, the space will also be a home for creating and fabricating new work, particularly for exhibitions and the annual Outlooks program.
Like the Welcome Sequence, the Conservation, Fabrication, and Maintenance Building is designed with thoughtfully chosen materials and is sited to fit seamlessly within the landscape. Its location at the southern edge of Storm King further supports the projects vision of prioritizing art and landscape at the heart of the grounds while providing room for the year-round conservation and fabrication program to grow.
To further support Storm Kings collaboration with artists, parking lots within the grounds will be repurposed into landscapes for art. New meadowed areas in the north and south naturally extend existing exhibition spaces while providing a platform for exhibitions, temporary installations, and public programming, as well as revealing additional sight lines of Storm Kings forested edge.
Nora Lawrence, Artistic Director and Chief Curator at Storm King, explained: I am thrilled that the design for our capital project reinforces a vision for Storm King that dramatically heightens our ability to support artists and make space for visitors to have their own specific, wonderous, and thoughtful experiences on-site. It makes possible what until now were just imagined opportunitiessignificant new spaces for exhibition and programming in our new North and South Meadows, and critically important new facilities for conservation and fabrication. The overall design is deeply sensitive to Storm Kings needs and to what Storm King excels in bringing to its audiences: up-close experiences with artworks, long views, and a considerate landscape design that elevates a singular experience of place.
A Sustainable Future
This project builds upon Storm Kings legacy of landscape stewardship and environmental sustainability. Buildings are designed to use clean, all-electric renewable energy, and the landscape will be enriched with more than 650 newly planted trees to offer shade for visitors and promote biodiversity. Sophisticated and multivalent sustainability measures are threaded throughout the design, including achieving LEED Gold certification for the Welcome Sequence. Key strategies include utilizing natural air and light to efficiently reduce energy demand; using highly efficient all-electric heating and cooling equipment, which will result in reduced operational expenses and long-term capital costs; using sustainable and durable materials to reduce embodied energy and limit long-term maintenance demands; supporting biodiversity and site hydrology to enhance local ecology; and enhancing mobility to Storm King to reduce carbon emissions and promote staff wellness.
Storm Kings acclaimed biodiversity and range of ecological systemsfrom wetland to meadow to forestare celebrated and strengthened, noted Beka Sturges, Principal of Reed Hilderbrand: Its exceptionally rare for landscape to be treated as seriously as art, as it is at Storm King. The environment at Storm King allows people to appreciate that they have a relationship to the land, invites them to imagine caring for it and appreciating that it changes, just as they do. We thought deeply about how to make the woods, wetlands, and overall biodiversity of the grounds a more inherent and exciting part of the experience, especially how it can support peoples encounters with the art. This includes planning for greater diversity of plant speciesvarying heights, textures, shapes, and groupings, which reward intimate viewings as well as long views.
Neil Porter, Founding Partner of Gustafson Porter + Bowman, said: Anyone who has visited Storm King understands the importance of the relationship between landscape and art. This project places orientation and the visitor experience at the forefront of Storm Kings ambitions. By consolidating the car parks from the meadows to the woodland fringe, we minimize the impact of vehicles on the landscape and vistas. The restored ground will provide opportunities for the reintroduction of plant communities and more space for art in Storm Kings sublime landscape setting.
A Community Resource for Expanded Accessibility and Connection
The capital project also supports Storm Kings ongoing contributions to the cultural, educational, and economic fabric of the local communities of Cornwall and Orange County, as well as the larger Hudson Valley. Mindful of the important relationship to the Art Centers surroundings, the project encompasses infrastructure improvements to external and internal roadways, including off-site traffic mitigation measures. The parking area is designed to promote and support the use of public transportation for travel to Storm King, in order to reduce the carbon footprint of Storm Kings visitors and make the Art Center accessible to those without a personal vehicle. More space is devoted to welcoming school groups, including a dedicated drop-off area and pavilion for orientation, reflecting core values of inclusivity and engagement. Overall, the project allows the museum to better serve local and traveling audiences and has been designed with an eye toward anticipating future growth.
Cornwall Town Supervisor Joshua Wojehowski said: Storm King Art Center has been a jewel of the Town of Cornwall and New York States Hudson Valley for decades. Their newly announced capital project supports the town and region by providing more opportunities for residents, schoolchildren, and artists, and it protects wildlife and plant diversity as a land corridor between public parklands. Throughout the challenges of the past few years, the Art Center has been an incredible resource for our community and for many visitors to our town, reminding me of the critical role art and nature play in our lives. Storm Kings plans ensure the future of this special place for generations to come.