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David Zwirner Gallery Special Inspections


HAKS performed a full range of special inspections as part of an elite project team hand-picked for the construction of the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea, a former industrial neighborhood now home to art galleries, iconic architecture and the High Line. The Gallery, a work of art unto itself, was designed by world-renowned Selldorf Architects, who specifically chose HAKS for this assignment. Special inspection categories included welding, concrete, pile foundations, mechanical systems, emergency lighting, energy code compliance, and sprinkler and standpipe systems.

The Gallery echoes the style of the surrounding warehouse structures—the 30,000-square-foot building is constructed of exposed concrete; a sliding teak storefront system allows the base of the building to open for art access. Teak is also used for the window frames on the upper floors. The five-story building is organized around the main exhibition space—a 5,000-square-foot column-free gallery with an 18-foot ceiling. Gallery and showroom spaces offer a flexible range of environments for the display of art. The second-floor public exhibition space features 14-foot ceilings and white oak floors. Unlike the skylit ground floor, second floor galleries are lit naturally by a series of large windows. Levels three, four and five are reserved for viewing rooms, offices, a library, and art handling areas.

Careful regulation of the concrete placement in addition to vibration resulted in surface consistency. Each floor of the gallery was completed in a single placement. Special construction challenges included the creation of the storefront’s 46-foot-wide span and the atrium stair construction, which required the integration of precisely placed rebar and form savers into the wall. The site’s mid-bloc location also created a challenge in that all placement had to be executed from the street. All exposed walls contain internal crack control devices to ensure that only hairline cracks occur in specifically designed locations. Exposed concrete forms the gallery’s entry spaces as well as the skylit atrium stair, which encompasses the entire volume of the building and is open to each of the five floors.

The gallery, the first LEED-certified commercial art gallery in the U.S., incorporates five green roof spaces, premium efficiency mechanical and lighting, maximized daylighting, and locally and responsibly sourced materials. The project received the 2013 Concrete Industry Board Award of Merit.