designed by
Frank Lloyd Wright
Review by Robert Green AIA

About his Guggenheim Museum design, Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Here for the first time architecture appears plastic, one floor flowing into another (more like sculpture) instead of the usual superimposition of stratified layers cutting and butting into each other by way of post and beam construction. The whole building, cast in concrete, is more like an egg shell--in form a great simplicity--rather than like a crisscross structure. The light concrete flesh is rendered strong enough everywhere to do its work by embedded filaments of steel--either separate or in mesh. The structural calculations are thus those of the cantilever and continuity rather than the post and beam. The net result of such construction is a greater repose, the atmosphere of the quiet unbroken wave: no meeting of the eye with abrupt changes of form. All is as one and as near indestructible as it is possible for science to make a building." Yes, the Guggenheim Museum, a building like none other ever built before.

Hilla Rebay, the Curator of the Guggenheim Museum wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to come to New York and discuss designing a museum for their paintings, "...Mr. Wright...only you, so it seems to me, would test the possibilities...I need a fighter, a lover of space...I want a temple of the spirit...Hilla Rebay, Curator." Solomon R. Guggenheim said, "I want something completely different!"

Photo by Nelson Brackin

And so in 1943 was born the germ in Frank Lloyd Wright's mind which eventually produced one of the greatest buildings in the world. But ironically, a building which its creator was not destined to see totally completed, for this greatest architect of all time died the ninth of April, 1959, months before construction of the Museum was finished. Yet he had seen enough, and he had seen it complete in his mind long before construction even began.

Structurally the building was conceived as a sort of giant spring. Mr. Wright even said once that if a bomb went off in New York, the building would probably "bounce back like a spring."

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