Guggenheim Museum

Perhaps the true epitome of the art museum archetype, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, a work of Frank Lloyd Wright stands out even in the rich opus of this great architect.

The museum is an example of clean and smooth, intuitive design. The expanding helix of the ramp leading from the bottom to the top of the building guides a visitor into the continuous flow of the movement through the interior. The progressive perception of the unwinding volumes and the gradual growth of the size of the exhibition spaces, contrasted with the narrowing of the conical central atrium, build tension as the visitor progresses to the top and the ethereal dome skylight covering the atrium.

The atrium and the swept ramp represent the pivot of the navigation around the museum, making all the spaces easy to access and orientate.

On the exterior, the fluid curves of the reverse circular ziggurat are only broken by the dark cavities of the spiraling openings and entrances, bringing the play of full and empty masses to the forefront instead of the usual color or ornamentation. Expected monochromatic drama of the shadows on the surfaces of the building is pacified by the cohesive nature of the building mass.

 

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