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The Breuer building, located at the corner of Madison Avenue and 75th Street, served as the Whitney’s third home; previously, the Museum had gradually migrated northward from its original location on West Eighth Street to West 54th Street. It was designed by Hungarian-born, Bauhaus-trained architect Marcel Breuer (1902–1981), who worked with Hamilton Smith, creating a strong modernist statement in a neighborhood of traditional limestone, brownstone, and brick row houses and postwar apartment buildings. Considered somber, heavy, and even brutal at the time of its completion in 1966 (“an inverted Babylonian ziggurat,” according to one critic), Breuer’s building is now recognized as daring, strong, and innovative. It has come to be regarded as one of New York City’s most notable buildings and identified with the Whitney’s approach to art.
The Whitney’s programming at the Breuer building concluded on October 20, 2014. After the opening of the Museum’s new building at 99 Gansevoort Street in 2015, the Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to present exhibitions and educational programming at the Whitney’s uptown building for a period of eight years, with the possibility of extending the agreement for a longer term.