The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a renowned art museum both locally and globally. Art from the 20th century forward can be found in the Museum. In fact, the building itself is considered a 20th-century architectural icon because of its inverted-ziggurat design, a characteristic that separates it from other traditional buildings in the area. The Museum holds daily tours for visitors, but it also provides art classes for children and adults, dining, film screenings, and other educational opportunities.


In 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was founded to provide an understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art. However, the original New York venue, the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which displayed Guggenheim's art collection, did not open until 1939. This venue was located in a former automobile showroom. The gallery was designed by William Muschenheim, and it incorporated gray carpet, classical music, and incense to make for an unusual viewing experience. Popular artist displayed here included Rudolf Bauer and Vasily Kandinsky.

The Museum of Non-Objective Painting would not be the permanent home for the art collection, though. The need for a permanent venue led to the commission of the present Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and in 1959, the Museum opened. Sadly, Guggenheim died in 1949 before the building was complete. 

The building design is considered one of the most significant achievements of Wright's career, as it serves as a symbol for modernism. The Museum includes a spiral ramp that circles the room. At the top of the ramp is a domed skylight, which leaves viewers in awe as it highlights the contemporary art collection. This design made the Museum more personal to the designer and to the collection. 

Originally, Wright planned to incorporate a ten-story tower into the design that would provide offices, galleries, storage, and space for anything else the Museum needed. However, at the time the building was constructed, the budget limited this design plan. The idea was re-examined in the 1990s, and from 1990 to 1992, the building was renovated with an eight-story tower added. The new tower and renovations provided 51,000 square feet of gallery space. 

About Us. Guggenheim. Accessed 4/22/17. https://www.guggenheim.org/about-us.

The Architecture Of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Architecture List. 6/22/12. Accessed 4/22/17. http://www.architecturelist.com/2012/06/22/the-architecture-of-the-solomon-r-guggenheim-museum/.

Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Edition 2nd. New York, NY. Guggenheim Museum Pubns, 1996.