Restoration Exhibition On View April 13–July 8

Exhibition of the Restoration of the Guggenheim Museum On View April 13–July 8

 

Multimedia Exhibition Explores State-of-the-Art Restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum


Exhibition:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum: Restoring a Masterpiece
Dates:
April 13–July 8, 2007
Venue:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue


(NEW YORK, New York, April 10, 2007) From April 13 through July 8, 2007, an exhibition documenting the ongoing restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece on Fifth Avenue will be on view at the Guggenheim Museum. The multimedia presentation includes photographs, drawings, computer-generated images, and informative videotaped interviews with key members of the restoration’s design team and with Peter B. Lewis, lead donor for this restoration, as well as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, and Chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert B. Tierney.


The restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is made possible through the generous support of Peter B. Lewis, the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the City of New York under the auspices of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the City Council, and the Department of Cultural Affairs.


In 2004, the Guggenheim Museum commenced a comprehensive restoration to address the preservation of its historic facade, which has been plagued with surface cracks almost since it opened in 1959. As the landmark building approaches its 50th anniversary, a team of highly experienced professionals have utilized the latest technology to assess the extent of the building’s deterioration in order to determine the best method with which to make repairs.


This exhibition explores in detail all aspects of the restoration, including skylight and window replacement, repair of the cracking curved exterior walls, application of a new exterior coating, and reinforcement of walls on upper rotunda levels. Also presented are documentation of the design team’s systematic building evaluation, including an unprecedented analysis of the rotunda structure, laboratory and field investigation of possible repair materials, and a detailed environmental analysis to determine adequate repair methods. “We have never conducted such an in-depth study of any building,” said Robert Silman of Robert Silman Associates, PC, structural engineer for the restoration. “The results of our monitoring, observations, and design initiatives have produced a final product that will result in a very durable building—almost an exact replica of the original.”


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum: Restoring a Masterpiece was organized by Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in consultation with Amanda Thomas Trienens, Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc.; Angel Ayón, Wank Adams Slavin Associates LLP; and Nancy Hudson, Robert Silman Associates, PC.


Building History

Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s preeminent architect, designed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—his major commission in New York—from 1943 through 1956. Built by Euclid Contracting Corporation under the direction of George N. Cohen from 1956 through 1959 at an estimated cost of $2–4 million, the Guggenheim was, when it opened, as much a marvel of construction as it was of design. The floor slab of the building’s signature spiraling ramp was formed of poured reinforced concrete; most of the outer walls were made by spraying layers of shotcrete (a mixture of sand and cement) from within the building, through steel reinforcements, against plywood formwork. The outer surfaces were then painted with an ivory-colored vinyl plastic skin called a “cocoon.”


When the building opened in October 1959, seven months after Wright’s death, it created a sensation; more than 16,000 people visited it on the first Sunday after it opened its doors. In the intervening years, it has been acclaimed by architects and critics around the world as one of the greatest buildings of the 20th century. On August 14, 1990, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the museum as a landmark. At the time, it was the youngest building in the history of the city to be honored with such a designation. In 2005, the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Register of Historic Places. In September 2005, scaffolding was erected to facilitate the analysis of the building’s surface and initiate the restoration process. It is expected that the scaffolding will come down and that the restoration of the facade will be completed in 2008.

#1060
April 10, 2007

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
Betsy Ennis / Leily Soleimani
Guggenheim Public Affairs
212 423 3840
E-mail: publicaffairs@guggenheim.org

 

Sackler Center

This presentation, comprised of selected materials from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, pays homage to the first Frank Lloyd Wright–designed structures in New York City.

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