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
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society