White walls for mounting artwork contrast with the stark concrete floors and walls.

White walls for mounting artwork contrast with the stark concrete floors and walls.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


Category: Work
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Once Manhattan’s warehouse sector, Chelsea is today a contemporary art gallery district. But with the rise of the High Line and the high-end residential buildings it has attracted, Chelsea might be something else tomorrow—which is why the galleries that are committed to staying are either consolidating or expanding. David Zwirner, one of New York’s four mega-giant galleries, is leading the charge for more space with its new 30,000-square-foot gallery building.

Designed by local firm Selldorf Architects, the building’s exposed concrete façade references the neighborhood’s industrial past while also projecting its own modern program. The museum-quality (and museum-sized) exhibition space includes a column-free, 5,000-square-foot ground-floor gallery with a nearly 19-foot-high ceiling—built for showcasing a range of works by some of the world’s most innovative artists. The concrete floors and sawtooth skylights in this gallery extend the industrial language of the façade into the primary program space.

A skylit stairwell rises all five levels of the building, connecting primary and secondary galleries with the building’s other function: as a working office for art dealers, art handlers, artists, and art assistants. Selldorf’s sliding teak system for the storefront engages both curious passersby and committed collectors, establishing an inviting portal into the neutral context of the white-cube space. The architects’ selection of materials and textures balances the requirements for inward- and outward-facing spaces meant for private work and public exhibition alike. “Even in New York, where so many buildings are really background buildings, this fits in really well with what’s going on in the street and avoids being just another drab gallery,” juror Cathy Lang Ho said.

See all of the winners of ARCHITECT's 2013 Annual Design Review here.

The exposed concrete façade references the neighborhoods industrial past.

The exposed concrete façade references the neighborhood’s industrial past.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


  • The Chelsea outpost of David Zwirner is in Manhattan's former warehouse district.

    Credit: Jason Schmidt

    The Chelsea outpost of David Zwirner is in Manhattan's former warehouse district.
  • A skylit stairwell rises all five levels of the building.

    Credit: Jason Schmidt

    A skylit stairwell rises all five levels of the building.

The gallery boasts 30,000 square feet of museum-quality display space.

The gallery boasts 30,000 square feet of museum-quality display space.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


  • Board-formed concrete lines the interior stairwell.

    Credit: Jason Schmidt

    Board-formed concrete lines the interior stairwell.
  • Light from above atrium stair filters into the open floors below.

    Credit: Jason Schmidt

    Light from above atrium stair filters into the open floors below.

A second-floor gallery benefits from deep street-facing windows.

A second-floor gallery benefits from deep street-facing windows.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


David Zwirner also houses a working office for art dealers.

David Zwirner also houses a working office for art dealers.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


The director's office features a picture window with views out to the river.

The director's office features a picture window with views out to the river.

Credit: Jason Schmidt


  • Ground-Floor Plan

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Ground-Floor Plan

  • Second-Floor Plan

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Second-Floor Plan

  • Third-Floor Plan

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Third-Floor Plan

  • Fourth-Floor Plan

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Fourth-Floor Plan

  • Fifth-Floor Plan

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Fifth-Floor Plan

  • Section facing East

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Section facing East

  • Concept sketch.

    Credit: Courtesy Selldorf Architects

    Concept sketch.


Project Credits

Project  David Zwirner, New York
Client  David Zwirner
Architect  Selldorf Architects, New York—Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA (principal); Sara Lopergolo, AIA (partner-in-charge); Julie Hausch-Fen (project manager); David Moore, Susan Parapetti (project architects); Matthew Kanewske, Laura Samul, Dylan Sauer (project team)
General Contractor  Eurostruct
Structural Engineer  DeSimone Consulting Engineers
M/E/P Engineer  AltieriSeborWieber
Concrete Consultant  Reginald Hough Associates
Geotechnical Engineer  Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
LEED / Sustainable Design Consultant  Atelier Ten
Lighting Designer  Renfro Design Group, Atelier Ten
Terrace Garden Designer  Piet Oudolf
Green Roof Consultant  Goode Green
Envelope Consultant  James R. Gainfort, AIA Consulting Architects
Environmental Engineer  Roux Associates
Acoustic Consultant  Shen Milsom Wilke
Elevator Consultant  IROS Elevator Design Services
Fire Alarm Consultant  Acotech Services
Expediter  Jam Consultants
Specifications Writer  Construction Specifications
Size  30,000 square feet
Cost  Withheld