A: It becomes an architectural landmark.
THERE it is! A white inverted cone. Just across the park.
From the posh Central Park West address of the American Museum of Natural History, we move across Central Park to another chic address where the famed inverted cone structure stands. Another noted NYC museum along Fifth Avenue of the Upper East Side is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim. This uniquely designed architectural structure amidst New York’s box buildings landscape is certainly an eye-catcher.
No other person can build such an innovative structure than the “greatest architect of all times,” himself, Frank Lloyd Wright. The man who promoted “organic architecture” -architecture that seemed to grow naturally out of the surrounding landscape- is clearly a visionary, creating wonders way ahead of his time.
When Wright was commissioned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to create a new building to house the Solomon Guggenheim’s Museum of Non-objective Painting (early modernists art, e.g. Kandinsky, Chagall, Mondrian, Picasso) in New York City, his disappointment was no secret. He found the city to be “overbuilt, overpopulated, and lacked architectural merit,” and wrote to a fellow architect, “I can think of several more desirable places in the world to build his great museum.” But they had to try, it was the client’s wishes.
Building the design of this out-of-the-box genius proved to be no easy task. There was a lot of struggle involving opinions coming from the different sectors- client, city officials, the public, and even the art world.
Entering Wright’s unconventionally-designed museum (inverted ziggurat to him, inverted cone to me) is like entering a nautilus shell. The interior is spiral in detail, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another. A single gently sloping ramp will lead the viewers to all the levels, where self-contained galleries are located, on a leisurely pace. Along the path, it is possible to view the several levels simultaneously with the open rotunda feature of the museum.
More than exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, the museum has other programs-lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings. Constantly evolving, the Guggenheim Museum has become a cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums.