one museum, two experiences

solomon r. guggenheim expressions of two editors with different backgrounds

— cihan küçük

new york museums have a crucial place in the development of all the museums both for the collections and architecture. solomon r. guggenheim is one of the leading examples of this.

although moma was the first one to give up from temple-like museum architecture, we can not deny that guggenheim took its place in museum history with its architecture since the day it was opened (1959).

designed as an uninterrupted ramp, it aims to offer visitors a different experience than they ever had before. actually visitors were expected to go to the top with the elevator and visit the exhibition down from there. but general habits have prevented this plan from being implemented. for this reason, today's exhibitions are designed upwards from the entrance rather than the plan.

guggenheim's continuous ramp keeps visitors constantly in motion. the ramp is divided into galleries, but the continuity of the movement prevents large groups from forming inside. for example, in guggenheim you can not see the crowds in front of the works like you encounter at moma.

it’s important to keep in mind that the building, which was opened in 1959, was far ahead of its time in architecture. it’s possible to see cracks and holes from old exhibitions on the walls. the museum has an annual average of 1 million visitors an is being painted by a special team each and every week.

guggenheim deserves a praise with its form that has destroyed the tabular of its period. although it’s constantly criticized for its understanding of museology, it must be remembered as one of the flagships of all the museums.

— yağmur rüzgar

solomon r. guggenheim museum is made up of a six-storey platform with a continuous swirl form.

this form distinguishes the structure in manhattan's view amongst the surrounding buildings and reflects an even more intense impact on the interior.

its bold and yet neat appearance designed by frank lloyd wright invites the people to explore inside. 

the floors looking into a common courtyard aren’t divided into separate flats which creates a visibility and interaction for the visitors through different levels. 

the architecture of the museum aims to direct the route of the visitors, forms the shape of the furnitures and—according to some artists and critics— even competes with the artworks that are presented in. 

an intersection of architecture and branding

new york based design studio sagmeister & walsh rebranded the jewish museum located in the upper side of manhattan.

the intention while creating the identity was to connect the historic and the contemporary. 

the whole system is based on the form of “star of david”, sacred geometry, which is the symbol of jewish identity and judaism.

the branding and visual language contains everything from stationery to packaging, from the advertising campaigns to the website.

from form to function

tribeca synagogue, although having a history fraught with difficulties, is one of the most interesting points of the new york city today.

it was founded in 1938 for jewish commuters working in downtown manhattan but it didn’t have a proper building until william n. breger, the harvard-educated chairman of the architectural design at the pratt institute, designed the new home in the late 60’s.

the structure has a convex concrete exterior which is truly striking and pretentious while the interior is very embracing and protecting—which can be associated with the sociological conditions of the jewish communities. 

the most remarkable feature of this curvy surface is that it provides acoustical support during the sabbath—the jewish holy day when they can’t use electrical sound amplifications. its form that turns into function stands out between new york’s classic architectural texture. 

this article is a part of urbanbacklog's contribution program. 
photos & text: kemal yılmaz

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