Significant Characteristic of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Topics: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Pages: 12 (4133 words) Published: March 31, 2011
Study on some significant characteristic of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Basic Information
• HISTORIC NAME: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
• LOCATION: Street & Number: 1071 Fifth Avenue
City/Town: New York
• TIME: 1943-59
Historic: Recreation and Culture Sub: Museum
Current: Recreation and Culture Sub: Museum
MATERIALS: Foundation: Reinforced concrete
Walls: Concrete
Roof: Glass; concrete
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is nationally significant as one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important commissions during his long, productive, and influential career. Built between 1956 and 1959, the museum is recognized as an icon of mid-twentieth-century modern architecture. Being one of his last works, it represents the culmination of a lifetime of evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas about an “organic architecture.” Within its building typology, the Guggenheim is one of the early examples of “architecture as art” for major twentieth-century museums. The original building remains essentially unchanged and exhibits an unusually high degree of integrity, clearly conveying its character-defining form. Location and Site

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue on the upper east side of Manhattan. The building occupies an entire rectangular block (201’ x 120’) on the east side of the avenue between East 88th and East 89th streets. The museum is oriented west toward Central Park, which is directly cross the street, and is surrounded by late-nineteenth and twentieth-century, multi-story buildings, generally of brick, stone, or concrete construction. Buildings on the side streets are primarily four to ten story buildings, while those lining Fifth Avenue north and south of the museum are larger in scale. Residential use predominates in the neighborhood; however, this particular stretch of Fifth Avenue is known as the “Museum Mile” because, in addition to the Guggenheim, several other notable cultural institutions stand within a twenty-block area, including: the Museum of the City of New York, The Frick Collection, The Jewish Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, El Museo del Barrio, The Neue Gallerie, The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, The Goethe-Institute/German Cultural Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Distinguished by its modern aesthetic and dramatic sculptural qualities, the Guggenheim presents a striking contrast against its neighbors. In 1992, the Guggenheim Museum constructed a ten-story, deep and narrow annex behind the original museum building that is oriented to East 89th Street. Based loosely on aconcept devised by Wright himself, the addition reads on the exterior as essentially a separate building within the cityscape and does not diminish the presence and integrity of the original portion of the building. Background/ History

In June 1943, Frank Lloyd Wright received a letter from Hilla Rebay, the art advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim, asking the architect to design a new building to house Guggenheim's four-year-old Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The project evolved into a complex struggle pitting the architect against his clients, city officials, the art world, and public opinion. Both Guggenheim and Wright would die before the building's 1959 completion. The resultant achievement, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, testifies not only to Wright's architectural genius, but to the adventurous spirit that characterized its founders. Structure

The Guggenheim is mainly constructed of reinforced concrete, yet Gunite—today commonly known as shotcrete—is the material of the exterior curved walls. Normal weight cast in place, concrete is the material of the lower levels and light weight cast in place concrete is the material of the interior radial walls and the ramps. Gunite, at the time generally...

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