Architectural Qualities Of The Guggenheim Museum

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Architectural qualities of the Guggenheim Museum in New York have an expressional capability of conveying meaning onto its user. William Whyte suggests that this is able to be read as a language, related directly to its spatial features and geometries. This essay attempts to examine the Guggenheim’s meaning in a contextual framework of time, through the medium of photography. Discussing critical interpretation at the time of the Guggenheim’s completion, and how socio-cultural changes have translated different means of understanding the architecture and its language, and importantly, whether this is a good thing or not. Meaningful interpretation of architecture has been suggested by Whyte to be readable, complex across different sets of media, and subject to change throughout time. The contrasts of the photographic medium in the 1950s with today’s era vary greatly in terms of accessibility, abundance, and publishing control. Architectural photography in the 50s was placed in edited sources, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Journals, Advertisements, whereas today images of architectural photography are largely obtained through online search engines such as Google Images, and Flikr. Some key questions examined in the essay relate to the intent of the photographer, production bias, and the medium in which the photograph is presented and how this has an affect on the way in which the Guggenheim was likely understood at the time of its opening, and how it is read today, by users
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