This year, the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum celebrated its 50th birthday (join the crowd). The Guggenheim first opened its doors on October 21, 1959. To kick off this golden anniversary year, the Guggenheim presented Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, its best-attended show ever. The exhibition closed on August 23; we got in just under the wire.
The show featured 64 Frank Lloyd Wright projects, including privately commissioned residences, civic and government buildings, religious and performance spaces and unrealized urban mega-structures — as well as more than 200 original Frank Lloyd Wright drawings, many of which were on view to the public for the first time. I was delighted to come upon a rendering of the Marin County Civic Center, a Wright creation that had some prominence in the landscape of my childhood. The design left a deep imprint on my visual brain.
One of our favorite exhibits was the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective — a proposed (and unrealized) concept that was to be built on the summit of the Sugar Loaf Mountain and serve as a destination for short motor trips. The spiraling roadways - cantilevered to allow full views — were to be supported by a vast dome, 150 feet in diameter. Under the dome, Wright proposed a planetarium to be surrounded by a circular gallery containing aquaria and natural history exhibits. So cool. (This image, just below, courtesy designboom — I'm borrowing this one because we weren't allowed to take photos in the exhibit itself, only on the ground floor.)
David van der Leer was appointed the Guggenheim's assistant curator of architecture and design last fall. His initial focus was organizing the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition. I like what he says about the museum itself: "It's a great piece of architecture and it's the biggest object in our collection."
Did you know? Lego added Wright's Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater to its new Architecture series. The other structures in the line include the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, the Empire State Building and the Seattle Space Needle.
:images dianamuse; check out the mega-versions (and a couple of postcard-size efforts) at beautimuse - click here