Touring Frank Llyod Wright’s masterpieces was like living a dream, a far fetched one. I’d never imagined visiting a building I had studied and sketched during my architecture years in reality.
“They say experience is the best teacher.” No matter what I’d learnt in college about this iconic masterpiece , it is only after visiting and experiencing the space in existence you realize the scale , magnitude and brilliance behind this monumental building.
This was the 1st iconic building I had ever visited even before The Fallings Waters by an eminent , acclaimed architect. The day we had made a plan to visit New York I knew Guggenheim museum had be a part of the itinerary by default.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York, is a gift of pure architecture—or rather of sculpture.Throughout our architecture years we have been taught that the building should relate to the surroundings ,context but here stands a museum so stark and contrast to its nature that it leaves you perplexed. I, atleast was left disoriented for a few minutes.It is hard to digest a building so out of the box that it takes a while to get used it and then you start enjoying it, in all its glory.
The reason for my amusement was because when you study a building in theory , you are unaware of its neighborhood, surroundings.It is only when you see it in actuality you experience the ambience and atmosphere around it which is a far cry from what would have even imagined.
Anyway I was very excited to go and explore the artful work of this museum.
It was quoted that “Entering into the spirit of this interior, you will discover the best possible atmosphere in which to show fine paintings or listen to music. It is this atmosphere that seems to me most lacking in our art galleries, museums, music halls and theaters.”
— Frank Lloyd Wright. “Frank Lloyd Wright”, The Architectural Forum, January, 1948, Vol 88 Number 1. p89.
INTERIORS OF THE MUSEUM
- As one enters the museum it opens into a rotunda and draws your eyes up to the skylight -96 feet above you. The works of art remain mostly hidden. Before you immerse yourself into the art , you need to experience the building itself which is a work of sculpture.
- The rotunda is the heart of the museum .It functions as the meeting space.
- The museum is a spiral ramped building topped by a large skylight .
- Visitors on the ramp not only view the art but are also aware of the people in the other areas , allowing interaction of people on different levels.
- There is a continuous flow of people moving along the ramps , viewing the exhibitions/art displayed along the walls as they climb upwards towards the sky.
- The curved walls of the interior were intended so that paintings had to be tilted backward , as on an artist’s easel.Although this was unsuccessful.
Some people, especially artists, criticized Wright for creating a museum environment that might overpower the art inside. “On the contrary,” he wrote, “it was to make the building and the painting an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony such as never existed in the World of Art before.”
Critics , artists, many still argue over the architecture of this magnanimous building but for a budding architect like me visiting this museum is only inspiring and can only take your love for architecture forward.
I hope to visit more of Frank Llyod Wrights works in the future .He surely is one of my favorite architects.