Architecture/The Building

Photo © Hufton + Crow
Architecture/The Building

Designed by the internationally acclaimed firm Herzog & de Meuron, the new Parrish occupies a fourteen-acre site in the hamlet of Water Mill. The innovative design integrates architecture and landscape in a plan that both respects and reflects the singular natural beauty and rich artistic legacy of Long Island’s East End. The architects were inspired not only by the landscape but also by the many artists’ studios they visited on the East End.

Located on the north side of Montauk Highway, the Parrish is a horizontal structure nestled discreetly in the landscape, consisting of two parallel wings joined by a central circulation spine running the length of the building. The building has been sited to take advantage of natural north light. The poured-in-place concrete walls are deeply recessed under a long and elegant white corrugated metal roof and incorporate large sections of glass that permit views through the museum and into the surrounding landscape.


Like the building itself, the landscape, designed by Reed Hilderbrand Associates, evokes the heritage of the East End. The site has been reshaped into a meadow with grasses and native wildflowers, rising toward an oak and evergreen hedgerow at the northern boundary. A special feature of the new design is a shaded porch surrounding the entire building and expanding to a large covered terrace, providing public areas for rest and contemplation. Conceived as a single, integrated work, the architecture and landscape offer the public a unified and cohesive experience year-round.

A 1,000 square-foot entry terrace greets visitors and affords a view through the lobby gallery to the landscape beyond. From the terrace, one enters the reception area, which is flanked by a 500 square-foot shop and a 730 square-foot café. Restrooms, a classroom, a 2,400 square-foot multipurpose space, and a 6,000 square-foot terrace are positioned to the west of the reception area. The galleries are located directly to the east of the reception area. Based on a 1,000 square-foot module, the gallery spaces, situated on either side of the central spine gallery, afford more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space and allow the Parrish for the first time to exhibit work from its collection of more than 2,600 art works at the same time as temporary exhibitions.

Continuing along the central spine, the administrative offices are located to the east of the galleries. Here are the offices, meeting room, and staff lounge. The most easterly section of the building is dedicated to art storage, shipping and receiving, and other “back of the house” functions.