Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Building Name         – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Location                     – East Dr, New York, NY 10128, United States

Architect                   – Frank Lloyd Wright

Structure                   – Gustave Eiffel

Pedestal Design      – Richard Morris Hunt

Start Year                 – 1956

End Year                   – 1959

Building Type          – Monumental Statue and Observation Tower

Architecture Style – Neoclassical

Description              –

  • Solomen R.Guggenheim museum is the first permanent museum (rather than converted from a private house) built in USA.
  • Frank was commissioned to design a building to house the museum of Non-Objective Painting.
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was the last major project designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1943 until it opened to the public in 1959, six months after his death, making it one of his longest works in creation along with one of his most popular projects.
  • Completely contrasting the strict Manhattan city grid, the organic curves of the museum are a familiar landmark for both art lovers, visitors, and pedestrians alike.
  • Frank Llyod Wright thought in curves and straight lines which is helding symbolic significance i.e., triangles -for structure unity, circles -suggested infinity,, spire -aspiration, spiral -organic process, square -integrity.

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  • Look down and you find circles in the terrazzo floor beneath your feet. Look up at the underside ramp and you see it punctuated by triangular lighting panels.
  • The principle “Form and Function are One” is thoroughly visible in the plan for Guggenheim Museum. According to Wright’s design, visitors would enter the building, take an elevator to the top and enjoy a continuous art-viewing experience while descending along the spiral ramp.
  • The exterior of the Guggenheim Museum is a stacked white cylinder of reinfored concrete swirling towards the sky.
  • The museum’s dramatic curves of the exterior, had an even more stunning effect on the interior. Inside Wright proposed “one great space on a continuous floor,” and his concept was a success.
  • Walking inside, a visitor’s first intake is a huge atrium, rising 92′ in height to an expansive glass dome.

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  • Interior wall is of soft ivory and having a spiral ramp which is wider in top than bottom.
  • The continuous ramp uncoiling upwards six stories for more than one-quarter of a mile, allowing for one floor to flow into another.
  • The ramp also creates a procession in which a visitor experiences the art displayed along the walls as they climb upwards towards the sky.
  • The ramp is a helix, complicated helix, being interrupted by a bulging balcony at each revolution.
  • The ramp leans outward, but other elements, such as the structural fins that transfer the weight of the ramp to the outside walls, and rise to support the central skylight, lean in.
  • The cork-screwing balustrade which is slightly tilted is a simple concrete wall with a pleasently rounded top.

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  • The design of the museum as one continuous floor with the levels of ramps overlooking the open atrium also allowed for the interaction of people on different levels, enhancing the design in section.

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  • The curved walls of the interior were intended so that paintings had to be tilted backward, “as on the artist’s easel.” This was unsuccessful because the paintings were still very difficult to display because of the concavity of the walls, and because of this before its opening 21 artists signed a letter protesting about their display of work in such a space.

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  • Wright also had a problem with Manhattan’s building-code administrators who argued with him over structural issues, such as the glass dome that had to be reduced in size and redesigned to include concrete ribs that are extensions of the discreet structural pillars on the exterior walls.
  • In 1990, building was closed for restoration. It contains 4750 sq.mt of new and renovated gallery space, 130 sq.mt. of new office, a restored restaurant and retrofitted support and storage spaces.

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  • In 1992 the museum built an addition that was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects that Wright had originally intended. The architects analyzed Wright’s original sketches and from his ideas they created a 10-story limestone tower that had flat walls that were more appropriate for the display of art.
  • Between 2005-2008 the Guggenheim Museum went under an exterior renovation where eleven coats of paint were removed from the original surface and revealed many cracks due to climatic reasons. This revelation led to extensive research in the testing of potential repair materials, as well as the restoration of the exterior.

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