The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known non-objective (abstract) art museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is also referred to as “The Guggenheim”. The Guggenheim Museum was established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed it so it’s cylindrical, wider at the top than at the bottom. The Guggenheim opened and was instantly identified by the public as an architectural landmark but what lies deeper through this magnificent museum?
The Guggenheim has an enormous amount of history behind it. It adopted its name after the death of its founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim who passed away 1952. The museum went through many modifications which delayed the project from appearing earlier to the public. There were six separate sets of plans and 749 different drawings. The costs of building materials rose due to World War II. Solomon R. Guggenheim, the museums benefactor, later on died in 1949 delaying the project even more. Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t originally plan to build The Guggenheim in this cylindrical design. He called for a ten-story tower with workrooms, storages, and private studio apartments. Wright passed away April 9th 1959 and his masterpiece wasn’t opened to the public until October 21st later on that year. In 1968, Wright’s son-in-law William Wesley Peters, designed a smaller framing of the building and making it eight-stories. The building was then closed in 1990 for MAJOR interior construction and restoration. Two years later The Guggenheim re-opened and was one of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed works. Adding more space including offices and a restaurant the building was a huge hit. Gwathmey Siegel & Associates greatly improved the museums capabilities without taking away Wright’s original design.
The design of The Guggenheim is absolutely stunning. From the outside, seeing the cylindrical design catches your eye instantly. Walking into the sky-light room with art spiraling around the outer edges from top to bottom of the room is nothing you’ve ever seen before. Going to each floor, looking the same from the outside and ground level isn’t what it seems. Each level has its own kind of art from back in the 1940’s to present day.
Frank Lloyd Wright had a tough time dealing with The Guggenheim financially. He was commissioned to design the museum in 1943. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s curator Hilla Rebay later on told Wright “I want a temple of spirit, a monument!” Wright’s design wasn’t planned on making The Guggenheim a temple and spiritually made, but he was told to.
Wright had designed many buildings and had a lot of experience. He had created 1,141 designs, of which 532 were completed. Before his death, making The Guggenheim his last design in my opinion is an honor. Architecture buffs say that The Guggenheim is Wrights most visited building and only major commission in New York. The original Guggenheim is built in New York but there are also others in Germany, Spain, Vegas, Berlin and many other places.