Latitude/Longitude: 40.7831, -73.9593
”Here, Wright took abstract form and modern technology to their contemporary limits, using reinforced concrete to create a soaring spiral that swelled as it rose, creating a building that was as much sculpture as it was architecture.
”With ample justification, critics of the building has attacked the Guggenheim for ignoring both its urban context and its role in exhibiting art… the continuous slanted ramp Wright used instead of horizontal floors made the display of conventionally framed paintings especially difficult.”
Carter Wiseman, Shaping a Nation, 1998
”When asked why he chose the ramp, instead of level floors in the conventional stack, Wright explained that he felt the museum-goer would find it far more convenient to enter the building, take the elevator to the top ramp, gradually descend around an open court, always have the option, as the ramp touched the elevator stack at each level, to either go back, or skip down to further levels, and finally, at the end of the exhibition, he would find himself on the ground floor, near the exit.
Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Frank Lloyd Wright 1991
An extension to the museum in 1992, by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, added a ten-story limestone tower behind the original spiral. The new tower provides flat walls for paintings, complementing the display of sculpture around the spiral gallery – which, perversely, people tend to view by wandering up the ramp rather than down.
⇒ Architecture Guide to