Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1943–59

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York, 1943–59, perspective. Ink and watercolor on art paper, 20 1/8 x 24 1/8 inches (51.1 x 61.3 cm). © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. FLLW FDN #4305.745

Frank Lloyd Wright

October 22, 2009–February 14, 2010

Fifty years after the completion of Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Frank Lloyd Wright, celebrating the innovative and poetic work of the legendary architect.

Wright was by all accounts an architectural innovator. Among the most compelling achievements during his prolific 72-year career was his radical redefinition of space. Beginning his career at a time when technological, scientific, and social developments were radically changing an ever-expanding world, he soon realized that new solutions were needed if architecture was to remain relevant to contemporary life. The challenge of creating functional, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing buildings had to be resolved, in his own words, “from within outward.” He created anew the spaces we live in to not only reflect the physical patterns of our daily experiences, but also enrich them through dynamic spatial engagement. In doing so, it was Wright’s intention to break down the division between interior and exterior space. Reinterpreting traditional Western boxlike architecture, he moved supports away from buildings’ outer edges, introduced cantilever beams, and replaced solid enclosing walls with supporting screens that could be manipulated in many ways to create buildings that allow for a sense of shelter without confinement.

Wright’s belief in the power of space to change and enrich our lives inspired this selection of projects—including residences, civic and government buildings, religious buildings, as well as unrealized urban megastructures—that demonstrate unique spatial solutions worth revisiting in the 21st century. Archival drawings and prints are accompanied by newly created three-dimensional scale models that examine the internal mechanics of functional space in relation to exterior form in a variety of his projects. The collected works reveal Wright’s continuing relevance to contemporary design and illuminate the life-enhancing potential that architecture has for the present and the future.

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