Upon cross-examination and comparison, Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye and Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum have many similar attributes to them. Although Le Corbusier adamantly denied Frank Lloyd Wright's influence on his works, by examining the styles of the two architects, one can see similarities that cannot be justified by mere coincidence. However, since the Guggenheim was completed in 1959, after Villa Savoye, it could be also argued that Le Corbusier was the one who influenced Wright. Both pieces of modern architecture emphasize the experience of the building, geometric volumes, and an embrace for modern technology.
The Guggenheim is one of Wright's last works, its completion occurring after his death. Built for the Museum of Non-Objective art, this building was revolutionary for its time. Its inverted ziggurat allowed for visitors to be whisked up an elevator and then to proceed through the whole exhibit at a leisurely pace down the gently sloped ramp of the ziggurat. Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye also implements the gentle ramp as a means of seeing the space and moving through the building. Le Corbusier once wrote, "the Architect, by his arrangement of forms, realizes an order which is a pure creation of his spirit; by forms and shapes he affects our senses to an acute degree and provokes plastic emotions; by the relationships which he creates he wakes profound echoes in us, he gives us the measure of an order which we feel to be in accordance with that of our world, he determines the various movements of our heart and of our understanding; it is then that we experience beauty." (Le Corbusier, p.6) Both architects attempt to manipulate the observer within the environment that they've built to control the experience of space. By taking the ramp in both buildings, one moves through the entirety of the space and not just select segments of the space. Wright's ziggurat ramp is ingenious in the fact that it allows museum visitors to not have to backtrack...
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Kaufmann Jr., Edgar, Frank Lloyd Wright: Plasticity, Continuity, and Ornament. The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 37, No. 1. (Mar., 1978), p. 34-39.
Passanti, Francesco, The Vernacular, Modernism, and Le Corbusier. The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 56, No. 4. (Dec., 1997) p. 438-451.
Drutt, Matthew, The Building. Guggenheim Museum Website.
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