Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

ManhattanMuseumPost 1950

1071 Fifth Avenue, NY, United States

Frank Lloyd Wright

BUILT 1959


Ground level interior consisting of:
● Entrance loggia (now the bookstore) [as of 1990]
● Entrance vestibule
● Main gallery space including the fountain, admission/information desk, and telephone alcove
● Coat room foyer
Auditorium level interior consisting of:
● Staircase in the triangular stairhall leading from the auditorium level to the ground level
● Elevator foyer
● Auditorium
● Auditorium mezzanine
● Stairs and areas providing access to the auditorium mezzanine
● Stage/platform
Ground level through sixth level interiors, up to and including the glass dome, consisting of:
● Continuous ramp
● Space enclosed by the continuous ramp
● Adjacent gallery spaces, among them the grand gallery at the first and second levels, including the fixed planters at the bottom and top of the first level, at the top of the second level, and at the top of the third level
● Skylights
● Elevator foyers
● Elevator cabs
Ground level through fourth level interiors consisting of:
● Triangular stairhall and staircases which terminate at the top of the fourth level which is the beginning of the fifth level
Second level interior consisting of:
● Justin K. Thannhauser Wing
Sixth level interior consisting of:
● Triangular gallery adjacent to the elevator shaft
Fixtures and interior components of these spaces, including but not limited to floor surfaces, wall surfaces, ceiling surface, doors, windows, brass railings, triangular light fixtures, trough light fixtures, signs and metal museum seal


Excerpt from Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report:

“The Commission further finds that, among its important qualities, the Guggenheim Museum Interior is internationally recognized as a seminal example of a twentieth-century interior space; that it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s preeminent architect, and is his most visited building and his only major commission in New York city; that in many critics’ eyes the museum is the top achievement of the architect’s later career and he himself called it ‘My Pantheon’; that the design, in its prominent spiraling form arrl its dramatic spatial qualities, manifests Wright’s philosophy of an ‘organic’ architecture, that is, buildings conceived and built according to the principles found in nature; that the design of the interior of the museum demonstrates the inherent unity of its construction method, spatial character, and use; that the museum appropriately fulfills his goal of producing a democratic society through its didactic and inspirational purposes; that, unified through ivory-colored walls and ceilings and a circular patterned terrazzo floor, this monumental skylit space is enlivened by the ever-changing quality of light and by the contrast between illumination levels in the central atrium and in the adjacent exhibition alcoves; that the ramp links the peripheral alcoves, illuminated, in part, by ribbons of skylights, and also connects to other exhibition areas: the Grand Gallery and the Thannhauser Wing; that the museum’s subterranean auditorium, with its geometrically-derived space and details, complements the design aesthetic of the exhibition spaces; that while geometric shapes create the spatial character of this design, they are also used for details such. as the lozenge-shaped fountain, planters, and columns; that the museum was financed by businessman and philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim; that Guggenheim acquired the collection of the museum under the guidance of painter and art patron Hilla Rebay, who then induced him to create a permanent museum and to commission Wright; that through the ingenuity of Wright, builder George N. Cohen, and consulting engineers, the reinforced concrete structure was erected despite many challenges; that the largely intact Main Gallery, related spaces, and geometrically ordered below-ground auditorium are a popular magnet for tourists and art and architectural enthusiasts; and that the museum, a link in Fifth Avenue’s famous ‘Museum Mile,’ houses a well-respected collection of modern art.”

LPC Designation Reports