Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum’s open, spiral atrium is fitting for an institution that’s wrapped up in democratizing art for the world. The space exudes an air of transparency and collaboration that’s translated across the museum's various exhibitions, big and small. What’s not on display are the behind-the-scenes spaces where the Guggenheim Foundation employees dream up the exhibitions seen on the white walls of the iconic mid-century building. For decades, the 200 people employed by the Foundation have sat confined to compact working quarters in a downtown Manhattan office building that inconveniently forced employees to waste time traveling to the Upper East Side museum by train. Now, thanks to an interior by Studio Gang, the Foundation’s new offices match the architectural efficiency of the museum and provide better accessibility all around. Located high up within the former US Steel Building, known today as One Liberty Plaza, the 30,000-square-foot headquarters features a bright, open office-plan that brings together the Foundation’s 18 departments and hundreds of staff members for the first time in the institution’s existence. To create as much room as possible, Studio Gang gut-renovated an entire floor plate in the column-free tower. The design team then integrated various types of workspaces into the design, including single-use cubicles, conference rooms, lounge areas, a reading room, and a canteen, to encourage new modes of formal and casual collaboration. They also outfitted the interior with a muted color palette and chose sustainable materials to regulate noise and heat, creating an overall atmosphere of calm and focus. “One of the biggest problems the Foundation previously faced was that the departments couldn’t interact easily; they physically couldn’t see each other,” said Margaret Cavenagh, principal of interior architecture at Studio Gang. “So we decided to think about the new design as a series of city blocks with anchoring spaces.” Studio Gang placed individual workstations up against the windows or walls, giving employees ample opportunity for daylight, while collaborative spaces and private offices backed up against the core. A main circulation route, going east to west, was placed to serve as a laneway between the two ends and features the Foundation’s massive library and archival collection along its walls. “Once we had this urban-scale street running through the space, corners became plazas, and the open areas and collaborative spaces became easier to get to as well,” she said. Office design is an often overlooked form of architecture, but Studio Gang gave careful planning to each and every detail and kept some of the building's original elements. The original polished concrete gave the floors a clear and clean appearance, which helped maintain the modernist, industrial aesthetic of the structure. The exposed ceiling was amplified in style by integrating ceiling fins made of recycled water bottles from Turf Design. This helped create a unified look above and improve the acoustics. Upon entering the Foundation, Studio Gang displayed a massive model room, Cavenagh’s favorite spot. It features splayed-out models of the Guggenheim Museum itself, where curators and designers create mini mock-ups and layouts for exhibits. This sets the tone for an active, but manageable mood within the spacious environment. In the old office, employees used to be stepping over each other and there wasn’t room for quiet work or loud collaboration; the new office gives employees the best of both worlds. “We’re always doing interiors work thinking holistically about the space as an extension of architecture,” said Cavenagh. “We’re passionate about how we build for the future. The Guggenheim is stepping into a new chapter of growth and we hope this office will help them work smarter and feel better about their daily environment.”
Posts tagged with "The Guggenheim Foundation":
Long the subject of international controversy—and even an alternative competition dubbed the Next Helsinki—the Guggenheim's push to build a new museum in Helsinki has been dealt a major blow. The saga goes back more than two years when the Guggenheim Foundation solicited international proposals for a new, Kunsthalle-style outpost in Finland's capital. The museum would be prominently located on the Helsinki waterfront. Under the terms of the foundation's proposal—which was modified in 2013 after an initial rejection—the government would cover the cost of construction ($147 million for the winning design from Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architectes) as well a share of the operating costs. In return, the Guggenheim Foundation would send major exhibitions to the museum, which would also employ Finns and generate tourism revenue. The foundation's proposal, which aimed to recreate the "Bilbao Effect," sparked major debate locally and abroad. Next Helsinki organizer Michael Sorkin wrote that the alternative competition was born of the “outrage at the march of the homogenizing multi-national brand culture emblematized by the imperial Guggenheim franchise—the cultural equivalent of Starbucks...” During 2015, from April to May, the Guggenheim Foundation hosted an exhibition in Helsinki dubbed Guggenheim Helsinki Now: Six Finalist Designs Unveiled to publicize their competition's finalists; the exhibit was accompanied by "a series of events, talks and workshops designed to engage a range of age groups [and extend] the exhibition content." Now, according to Reuters, the Finnish government won't foot the bill for a museum. Reuters quotes Sampo Terho, parliamentary head of the Finns Party (which is currently part of the Finnish parliament's governing coalition), as saying "This is the end of the matter, we have ruled out state funding (for Guggenheim) once and for all, for this government." Reuters reports that the foundation's reservation on its harbor site runs out at the end of the year and "an extension would need justifications."
Near the end of last year, the Guggenheim Foundation announced the six finalists in its global competition to design its new campus in Helsinki. That open call for ideas attracted more than 1,700 submissions that, when compiled together, created a dizzying array of architectural eye-candy. The basic idea behind the foundation’s unprecedented competition was to find an iconic, tourist-attracting design like Frank Gehry’s metallic creation in Bilbao. While the short-listed proposals are still only known by a number, the six firms vying for the career-changing commission have been made public; they are AGPS Architecture (Zurich, Los Angeles), Asif Khan (London), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, Sydney), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart), Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris), and SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Western Australia). In the months since that announcement, these teams have been finalizing their schemes - and now the Guggenheim has unveiled new details and renderings for each one. The competition jury has also announced its 15 honorable mentions, along with the firms behind them. Members of the public will be able to interact with all of the designs at a Guggenheim-sponsored exhibit that opens this Saturday in Helsinki. Following the exhibit, the jury will select a winner, to be announced on June 23 – one year after the competition was launched. If you can’t make it to Helsinki for the exhibit, we’ve got the finalists, and the honorable mentions, right here.
From the architects: "The design of the Guggenheim Helsinki and its woven landscape are based upon a sensitive and sympathetic approach to the context and nature of Helsinki. The fragmental design encourages people to flow within a new cultural core that is linked to the rest of the city, through the port promenade and the pedestrian footbridge to Tahtitorninvuori Park. This flexible access welcomes not only the visitors but also serves as a key cultural destination for the community."GH-1128435973
From the architects: "The project proposes two facilities that establish a dialog with each other – a museum made of two museums. The first museum is on the ground or tarmac level of the port facility. The existing terminal is re-used and re-appropriated for multiple activities. It is conceived as a public space, extending the pedestrian boardwalk into the building – a place for education and outreach within the city. The second museum is the museum as such, in so far as it houses exhibitions. The structure is in the air and hovers above the first. As a hall on stilts, partly removed from the everyday life below, the building offers a place of refuge, adhering to the notion of the museum as an 'other space.'"SUBMISSION GH-5059206475
From the architects: "31 Rooms reuses the laminated wood structure of the existing Makasiini terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that follows the exact geometry of the original building. The rest of the massing respects the maximum height of the old terminal and reproduce its profile ensuring that the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings are preserved."GH-5631681770
From the architects: "We propose a Strategy that could offer back to the City of Helsinki an Extra Space at no additional cost. An added value for the City that transcends traditional Exhibition Spaces. We propose an Interior Street, an additional un-programmed space, which is not included in the original brief, that open the building up to citizen’s appropriation, and allow it to remain structurally relevant through the present and well into the future. The Interior Street, an Extra City Space, proposes a set of Unique Spaces that contains an almost unlimited number of conditions and situations that Public Space could offer to present, to study, (re) contextualize, or even provoke the people that enters it, whatever form it takes."
From the architects: "Adorning the waters edge. A cluster of slender timber towers provides a stunning addition to the city skyline. The sculptural form lends the Guggenheim a „Beacon-like“ appearance, attracting visitors arriving by land or sea. A majestic public place in the city. The towers are gathered around a soaring catheral-like central space, providing a unique home for public events on the waterfront."GH-121371443
From the architects: "Our proposal takes the form of a Helsinki city block rotated to the harbour front. Helsinki city blocks in the 1800s were named after wild animals. The proposed new block will have the tactile familiarity of a pet’s fur. Six timber-clad galleries are stacked over two levels and flanked by a seventh for administration and retail. Public spaces are formed between these and an intelligent textured glass skin wrapping the entirety to precisely diffuse light, translucent below, and transparent above."The Honorable Mentions