The Whitney Museum of American Art broke ground Tuesday on its new space downtown.
The museum will be moving from its current home on the Upper East Side to a new nine-story building on Gansevoort Street, adjacent to the Highline.
The Whitney originally opened on West 8th Street in the Village.
The new building will have 200,000 square feet of space, including room for rooftop and outdoor exhibitions.
The new space is set to open in 2015, but the museum's current home will remain open all through construction.
"It'll be three times as large as the current Whitney building up on Madison Avenue. It'll have one of the largest column-free spaces anywhere definitely the largest in New York, spectacular outdoor galleries where people will be able to walk over staircases to go from floor to floor to look at art on the outside of the building in warm weather months. A great theater space. And the whole lobby entrance level will all be free to the public," said Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg.
"We are up and running 'til and through 2014, so there will be a very short period of time when we will complete our program uptown on 75th and Madison and then begin the preparations to move into the building here. So we hope to be down for just a very short period of time, we want to be accessible to the public as much as we possibly can," said Whitney Museum Chief Curator Donna De Salvo.
The museum was founded at the turn of the 20th century by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in an effort to showcase American art.
The Whitney's current building will eventually be used by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for some of its own exhibitions.