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Jul 14, 2010 12:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Parrish Art Museum will break ground on new building next week

Jul 14, 2010 12:00 PM

The Parrish Art Museum will break ground on its long-awaited new museum building on Montauk Highway in Water Mill on Monday, July 19.

A press conference at the site on Monday morning will include a groundbreaking. A timeline for the construction project is expected to be released by museum officials at that time.

The museum announced last month that construction would begin soon, and a portion of the 14-acre property that will be home to the new museum was mowed recently.

The design for the new museum, by Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, calls for a single 34,500-square-foot building that harks back to the long, low-slung barns common on local potato and duck farms, rimmed with seating and surrounded by a landscaping plan of native vegetation. The building, more than 600 feet long but less than 100 feet wide, will provide room for larger display galleries, climate-controlled secure storage facilities, staff offices, a cafe and a gift shop.

It will cost between $20 million and $25 million to construct by museum estimates. A 2012 opening date has been projected.

The groundbreaking will mark a watershed moment in the more than 10-year saga of the museum’s efforts to expand its facilities.

After battling with village residents for more than three years over plans to more than double the size of the current Parrish Art Museum building on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village—built in the early 20th century by the museum’s founder, Samuel Parrish—with 55,000 square feet of modern additions, the museum resolved to abandon its historic village home and build a new structure from scratch.

In 2003, the museum announced that it was going to build on a 12-acre portion of the Southampton College campus and that they hoped to have it completed by 2007. But those plans were derailed just months later by Long Island University’s decision to close the school.

After another long search, in 2005 the museum selected the Montauk Highway site, less than a mile from the Southampton Village border. It paid $3.8 million for the property.

The original plans for the new museum building by Herzog & de Meuron, unveiled to great fanfare in 2006, called for a 64,000-square-foot museum arranged in a cluster of several small, interconnected buildings, reminiscent of the backyard art studios the East End’s most renowned artists have worked in for a century.

But that design would have cost some $80 million. After crunching numbers, the museum announced it would split the development into three phases, starting with a 43,000-square-foot main building and expanding as it raised the necessary funds. After the economic crash in 2008 and a substantial decline of major donations, the museum scraped the original designs altogether and tasked Herzog & de Meuron with creating an entirely new, more economical design.

Though it only reduces the planned interior space from 43,000 square feet to 34,500 square feet, the single-building design cut construction cost estimates by some two-thirds.

Museum officials have said the design still makes extensive use of the unique qualities of natural light that drew artists to the East End in the first place.

Monday’s groundbreaking, which is not open to the public, will be attended by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, members of the Parrish Board of Trustees, museum director Terrie Sultan and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

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Wonderful that this new museum will be built. Great architectural firm! A great resource for all.
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Jul 12, 10 5:35 PM
How wonderful to see the arts getting deserved attention
By lablover (104), Southampton on Jul 12, 10 5:50 PM
Just curious... The Parrish Art Museum's Board of Directors could not find an "American Architectural Firm"? Anyone know who won the bid for the construction?
After seeing all the "over construction" in size that the Southampton Village has allowed in the past 10 years, I cannot believe the village could not let the Parrish Art Museum expand in the village! Police stations, Libraries and Post Office's are ok?
By c'mon now (46), southampton on Jul 12, 10 6:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Lest we not forget, 2,500 sq. ft. "homes", on less than a 4,000 sq. ft. lot...
By Mr. Z (8951), North Sea on Jul 12, 10 11:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
For a museum that claims to enthusiastically support the local arts, they certainly didn't "walk the walk".

Hiring the Swedish firm (Herzog & de Mueron) was a slap in the face the the local architectural professionals. This firm won the Pritzker Prize, so you know that they must have charged a bleedin' fortune for that uninspired "Quonset Hut" that they designed for the Parrish.
By elliot (234), sag harbor on Jul 13, 10 12:30 AM
2 members liked this comment
Ben Krupinski is the Builder.
By Draggerman (616), Southampton on Jul 13, 10 6:42 AM
That guy?

He runs the most "low budget" sites around. Sometimes I wonder how OSHA hasn't ever come down on him when it comes to sanitation on his site. Never enough "pots" to support the volume...
By Mr. Z (8951), North Sea on Jul 15, 10 6:55 AM
Congratulations Parish - we look forward to a wonderful facility.
By sunshine (47), southampton on Jul 12, 10 7:32 PM
What happens now to the older more beautiful building on job's lane and the old beautiful red brick building that used the be the library? who owns those building?

they would make a nice arts and cinema center with great walk in traffic. all you need is some simple art work, perhaps loaned locally from the great collections in people's homes, some art movies booked, and it will be a pleasant, humble yet lovable arts center. could also use it as nice central location to give art lessons ...more
By davidf (317), hampton bays on Jul 12, 10 8:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
I've got an idea.

How about you ask Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Hank Paulson, Phil Gramm, and Lloyd Blankfein for the extra money to cover the lost square footage?

Maybe we could even ask Christopher Cox could throw in a couple bucks?

And while we're at it, we even could hit up Ayn Rand's estate for a little more to ice the cake...
By Mr. Z (8951), North Sea on Jul 12, 10 11:41 PM
The Village of Southampton owns the building on Jobs Lane which the Parish rents for free now. Samuel Parish's original collection will remain in it - what's left of it, some's gone missing over the years its been in the village's care. The building would make a great arts and cinema center. Perhaps a community center as well. We need to start having discussions about its future use.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jul 13, 10 10:31 AM
Too bad. The East End does not need any more new buildings of this sort, and the existing structures in the center of the town served several functions besides housing the art. I am thinking of things like bringing cultural life to downtown, anchoring the community, etc. Others disagreed with that viewpoint. So be it and we will move on.
By Sag (53), Sag harbor on Jul 13, 10 1:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
What does Rand's estate have to do with anything? or Rand herself???
Yup, I do agree that there are terrific American Architects. James Merrill in Sag Harbor is one of the best and award winningest out here. Glenn Heidtmann and Sons have built most of the major commercial buildings out here. Car dealers, Revco, 60 Churches, back to the original Julliard in NYC. Firm is over 100 years old, can build ANYTHING at award winning levels and quality and is best priced within 50 miles!!!
By DasK (26), on Jul 13, 10 1:46 PM
Greenspan was a "disciple" of Ayn Rand, and her ideas regarding "self regulation" of the economy are one of the reasons we are in this "meltdown". Money dried up, less space for artists work.

There's your History lesson for today...
By Mr. Z (8951), North Sea on Jul 15, 10 6:52 AM
Distrust the dig!

This relocation to a field is a sad commentary on the lack of leadership and vision in Southampton Village IMO.

There were (and still are) lots of options available including a parking garage north of the current location in the Village.

Moon Vahradian had it right many years ago -- preserve the Village.

Dig we must? No -- Distrust the dig!

Plus, what is the LEED rating on this long and narrow building?
By PBR (4791), Southampton on Jul 14, 10 5:50 PM
It's a surprising observation: Many comments here have issues with the Parrish and their new building.

Perhaps the museum does not enjoy the good will of the artistic and architectural community that it believes it has.
By elliot (234), sag harbor on Jul 14, 10 6:08 PM
Firecracker 8K run & 3 Mile Walk Southampton Village 4th of July weekend