New York City has been called “the greatest city in the world” numerous times by its own people and visitors to the city. New York is civilization’s greatest world within a city. It gives the overpowering impression of being a magnet and mirror for all of humanity and all that humanity does. For a city so young, New York is home to number of architectural classics. Two of these masterpieces of architecture are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Both continue the metaphor of New York being a world within a world and possess the latent fusion of form and function, one dependent on the other. The Metropolitan Museum is the epitome of neo-Classical style while the Guggenheim is a modernist powerhouse. Each museum serves the same purpose: displaying humanity’s greatest achievements. By comparing and contrasting their history, location, façade and interior, I will investigate how they arrive at this goal in contrasting styles
Location of a building is significant, often giving an insight into the edifice’s function. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located on Fifth Avenue between 88th and 89th streets (picture1). It was commissioned by Solomon Guggenheim in 1943. Guggenheim chose Frank Lloyd Wright to design a new building to house Guggenheim’s four-year-old Museum of non objective painting. Wright was reluctant on New York being chosen as the city to house the museum but he finally decided on its current location. Its proximity to Central Park was a vital factor in his decision – the park offers a respite to the hustle and bustle of the city and gets as close to nature as possible in the City (picture 2). Like Robie House and Falling Water, the museum is a product of its environment and finds its inspiration from nature. As is stated on the official website, the Guggenheim Museum is an “embodiment of Wright’s attempts to render the inherent plasticity of organic forms in architecture.” People visit the museum as much for its architecture as its art; it is an icon of modern architecture and designed specifically to showcase and complement modern art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by wealthy American businessmen and artists of the time with the sole purpose to create a museum bringing art and education from around the world to the citizens of America. The original central pavilion was designed by Richard Hunt, with the newer Lehman, Sackler, American, Rockefeller, Wallace and Kravis wing’s designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. Located on Fifth Avenue and 83rd street (just inside Central Park), it is a living encyclopedia of world art (picture 12). Every culture from every part of the world, from past to present is represented and is in fact the largest collection of art work in the entire Western Hemisphere. Let us now take a look at the impression each building gives the viewer.
The Met and the Guggenheim possess two of the most...