2006_11_highline.jpgNewsweek is reporting that architect Renzo Piano is drawing up plans for a downtown addition abutting the High Line even though the Whitney’s board of trustees hasn’t made a final decision.

Piano first heard word of a possible relocation in September. “My first reaction was sad, when you spend a couple years struggling, and dreaming, about a scheme, and finally you may end by not doing it,” he told architecture critic Cathleen McGuigan. There was never any question that Piano would be asked to design the new building and he compared the battle between the Whitney and its neighbors to "growing flowers in bad earth."

So what can we expect from a downtown site?

“[W]e can build bigger floors, that’s for sure, and we don’t have to dig down so deep. The idea of a roof terrace for sculpture-this might even be stronger, even better, there. And there, we may be even more open to the city, because there we have not only the ground floor, the street floor-with entrance on the street level-but the High Line floor, and an entrance on the river side. So you may immediately think about the more complex geometry.”

And Piano even likes the meat smell!

Yesterday, the NY Times' architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote about the Whitney's "identity crisis."