Architecture without Limits: Guggenheim Turns 50


Another post on the theme of museums, with modern additions:

F.L. Wright’s Guggenheim museum in New York turns 50 this summer. It was a controversial design from the moment it was first conceived, and has been critiqued, celebrated, and emulated ever since, one of the icons of 20th-century architecture and museum design. It has been impeccably restored over the last few years, and an exhibit opens this weekend chronicling Wright’s career. See the Ouroussoff review “Architecture without Limits” in the NY Times. A fun feature is also the interactive panoramic image of the inside of the Guggenheim’s rotunda (Flash), which can get you dizzy. Wright’s career is a great example of someone who used architecture to do “research” on many different ideas in a very iterative process: each project pushing a bit further than the previous on similar themes.


3 Responses to “Architecture without Limits: Guggenheim Turns 50”

  1. 2009/05/15 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve never seen it so empty before.

    What’s interesting about the panoramic image is that, left on its own, the animation starts looking up, but then just loops around the ground floor, around and around, without returning up to the spiral. When people enter, the first thing they do (usually) is look up. The second thing they do is try to take a picture capturing that same view, and then they are politely told, “No photographs, please.” That view of the spiral is, ironically, the most static perception of the Guggenheim; as people move through it, you often can’t see them (because they follow the art, and the art is closer to the far wall than the inner edge). From the ground floor, your understanding of the open (but crowded) space around you is much more dynamic, from the start/stop motion of all the people queuing in line and exiting. And that, I think, is why the camera stays down there unless you force it upwards. It ISN’T very dizzying because your change in view happens so gradually, and the change isn’t the same type of change over and over again – different people wearing different things at different distances from you in different parts of the space are introduced slowly from your right, and at that constantly level view, you’re more aware of the people than the space itself.


  2. 2 gutschow
    2009/05/15 at 4:00 pm

    If you use the mouse, and interact, move it towards the lower edge of the screen, you CAN get the image to spin very fast, repetitively, both looking straight up and sideways, in various configurations; dizziness perhaps too strong a word, but certainly disorienting.

  3. 2009/05/15 at 4:58 pm

    I wasn’t saying it couldn’t be dizzying or interactive (because I think it certainly can be both) – I was just commenting on the way the script worked if left to its own accord.

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