Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – Exterior and Interior

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

1071 Fifth Avenue

ARCHITECT: Frank Lloyd Wright

DATE: 1956-59

STYLE: Museum

Manhattan Museum Upper East Side

Among its important qualities, the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s preeminent architect, is internationally recognized as an important example of twentieth-century architecture. It is Wright’s most visited building and his only major commission in New York City.

In many critics’ eyes the museum is the crowning achievement of the architect’s later career and he himself called it “My Pantheon.” The design, in its prominent spiraling form, synthesizes Wright’s philosophy of an “organic” architecture, that is, buildings conceived and built according to the principles found in nature. Wright unified the building’s construction method, its appearance, and its use, in accordance with his design philosophy. The museum appropriately fulfills his goal of promoting a democratic society through its didactic and inspirational purposes. The building contrasts boldly with its urban environment on Fifth Avenue.

The Guggenheim Museum Interior is internationally recognized as a seminal example of a twentieth-century interior space. The design, in its prominent spiraling form and its dramatic spatial qualities, manifests Frank Lloyd  Wright’s philosophy of an “organic” architecture, that is, buildings conceived and built according to the principles found in nature.  The design of the interior of the museum demonstrates the inherent unity of its construction method, spatial character, and use. Unified through ivory-colored walls and ceilings and a circular patterned terrazzo floor, this monumental skylight space is enlivened by the ever-changing quality of light and by the contrast between illumination levels in the central atrium and in the adjacent exhibition alcoves.

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

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