‘Architecture remains abstract and lives only in one’s head until such time as things are physically evident,’ writes architect Annabelle Selldorf on her limited-edition cover for our May 2020 issue (W*254).

Her black-and-white cover image was taken at Hauser & Wirth’s latest building, on Manhattan’s West Side. A close collaborator with the gallery for more than two decades, Selldorf had previously designed their spaces in Zurich, London, LA, as well as two other locations in Manhattan. Still, the new 542 West 22nd Street, due to open in autumn 2020, marks a milestone as their first ground-up, purpose-built space.

The white element in the foreground is the cupola for the building’s main stair volume, temporarily placed within the top-floor exhibition space while the building was nearing completion. ‘Every day changes were afoot that were exciting to observe, as they brought to end a long process of thinking and planning this project,’ recalls Selldorf of her site visits earlier this year.

Annabelle Selldorf’s on the construction site of Hauser & Wirth’s New York gallery
Selldorf takes a photograph of the yet-to-be-installed staircase cupola, an image which appears on our limited-edition cover this month. Photography: Brigitte Lacombe; Producer: Michael Reynolds

‘This was one moment that I could enjoy the cupola as a three-dimensional item – before being installed and thereafter being an integral element of another space,’ continues the architect. ‘There it was – a small object placed out of its intended context and bathed in this powerful light. It bespeaks process and the secret life of things.’

Shot on iPhone, the image reflects Selldorf’s personal relationship with photography. She takes photos in lieu of keeping a diary, building them into ‘a kind of visual notebook of things that trigger ideas, or a record of things I see and want to remind myself of.’ §