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The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
         Photo: David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
                                                              Frank Lloyd Wright was no fan of Manhattan. He once
                                                              described it as a “vast prison with glass fronts,” but he
                                                              also knew that a major commission in New York City
         THE GUGGENHEIM                                       would would be important to his legacy. For Wright the
         MUSEUM FROM THE                                      saving grace for the museum’s site was its proximity to
                                                              Central Park, providing an oasis amidst the noise and
         OUTSID                                               congestion of the city.


                                                              Wright put out a “welcome mat” for visitors by
                                                              more than doubling the width of the sidewalk and
                                                              announcing his central motif—the circle—even in the
                                                              concrete pavers that surround the building. Year-round
         As you walk north on Fifth Avenue you pass block after   you will find people perched along the outside ledges,
         block of tall apartment houses that establish a formidable   taking in the sun, enjoying a snack purchased from
         wall of relative uniformity. On the opposite side of the   one of the street vendors, or watching the parade of
         street, an extended stone wall marks the outer limit of   natives and tourists from around the world.
         Central Park and presents its own predictable rhythm.
         The elements of the streetscape impart the message   As you face the outside of the museum you will see
         “keep walking.” And then you reach 88th Street. The   three distinct formations. To your right, and most
         street opens up, the profile becomes lower, air and light   imposing, is the large rotunda. To the left, the small
         is more abundant. You have reached the Guggenheim    rotunda echoes the circular shape on a smaller scale.
         Museum.                                              Until 1988 it was used as administrative offices, but
         Whereas the rest of Fifth Avenue presents buildings   is now open to the public. The rectangular building
         that are rectangular, vertical, and decorated with bits of   (the Annex Building) is an addition that opened in
         ornamentation, the Guggenheim counters this regularity   1992. Designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates,
         with its purely sculptural facade. Its clean circular and   Architects, it provides additional exhibition and
         horizontal design is devoid of surface decoration.   office space.

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