In December 2022, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, under financial stress from the economic crisis of 2020 decided not to renew its eight-year lease on the former Whitney Museum building designed by Marcel Breuer. Google ultimately stepped in to purchase the Breuer building for $500 million. Shortly after buying the Breuer Building, Google announced that the old structure was too expensive to update. The building was razed and replaced with an exact replica mapped with 3-D scanners and digitally modeled with the aid of Marcel Breuer’s original blueprints.
The museum provided a landmark structure to physically interface with the Google Art Project. Art Project was originally launched in 2011 with online access to high-resolution images of artworks from partnering museums and in subsequent years was expanded to include 3-D scans of over 40,000 individual artworks from around the world. This expansive database became an interchangeable collection available to users inside the museum. A pair of Google Glass and a Google+ profile could manifest virtual artworks, walls, pedestals, and docents.