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NYguy
December 31st, 2002, 08:45 AM
NY Times...

Guggenheim Drops Plans for East River Museum

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

After months of growing fainter and fainter, the gigantic titanium cloud that was to have been the Guggenheim Museum on the East River dissipated completely yesterday, victim of the Guggenheim's financial straits and a weak economy.

In a three-paragraph e-mail message, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced that it had withdrawn its proposal to build a polymorphous, 400-foot-tall building designed by Frank Gehry on Piers 9, 13 and 14, south of the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan.

Thomas Krens, the foundation director, acknowledged as unrealistic the prospect of financing the $950 million project at a time when the museum is cutting budget, staff and programs. Beginning Sunday, for example, the Guggenheim Las Vegas is to go dark indefinitely.

Mr. Krens said the Guggenheim would still need to expand within the next decade and still believed that a strong cultural presence would help revitalize downtown. "But given the current situation," he said, "the Guggenheim project has to be rethought, perhaps on a more modest level, and certainly in the context of the city's master plan for the development of Lower Manhattan."

In November 2000 Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani designated the Guggenheim Foundation as developer of the piers and pledged a $67.8 million contribution to the project. The Bloomberg administration has accepted the museum's withdrawal.

"A new Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry could have been a marvelous addition to the downtown cultural community," said Andrew M. Alper, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. "However, given the museum's current financial difficulties, we understand and support their decision."

The city seems to have anticipated the decision.

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg released "New York City's Vision for Lower Manhattan" on Dec. 12, the fantastic cloudlike building was conspicuously absent from renderings showing the possible future of the East River waterfront. Although the city envisions museums there, none would be remotely close to the scale of the proposed 572,000-square-foot Guggenheim project.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised," said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Downtown Alliance, which runs the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District. Working with Community Board 1, the alliance developed its own East River plan last year that accounted for a reconfigured Guggenheim museum.

As planned, the East River museum was to have some 200,000 square feet of exhibition space (about four times as much as the original museum on Fifth Avenue by Frank Lloyd Wright), a center for arts education and 400- and 1,200-seat theaters. Around the enormous structure were to have been six acres of open space and sculpture gardens. It would have been built on connecting platforms extending from Old Slip to Maiden Lane.

Just the prospect of a New York building designed by Mr. Gehry, the architect of the remarkable Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain, drew large crowds to the Fifth Avenue museum in 2000 and 2001 to see a 12-by-5-foot model of the East River structure, surrounded by smaller models and renderings.

The museum anticipated three to four years of construction after a two-year review. The project would certainly have been challenged on environmental grounds and criticized for its potential impact on light, air and views along the riverfront.

But it was welcomed in The New York Times by Herbert Muschamp, the architecture critic, who declared in April 2000, "Here comes architecture."

"If New York is a perpetual gift to the future," he wrote, "this design is its bow: a flourish of titanium ribbons (Mr. Gehry calls them wrappers) curled around half a million square feet of gallery space." Whether or not it was ever built, Mr. Muschamp wrote, it would serve as "an icebreaker of a design, a plan for crunching through rigid streetscapes and frozen minds."

As recently as August 2001, just before the attack on the World Trade Center, it appeared that downtown was poised for a cultural renaissance, with several ambitious projects, including the Guggenheim and the Museum of the City of New York, which planned to move into the Tweed Courthouse. That landmark building was instead designated by Mayor Bloomberg as the new headquarters of the Department of Education.

With most everyone involved out of reach yesterday, it was not immediately clear whether the shelving of the East River project might in turn open the door to the Guggenheim's presence in the redevelopment of ground zero, which has been the subject of some discussion recently.

Mr. Weisbrod said the alliance continued to support the idea of a cultural or performing arts magnet on the East River. Mr. Alper said that the Bloomberg administration's "commitment to developing cultural institutions as an integral part of Lower Manhattan's revitalization is stronger than ever."

And Peter B. Lewis, chairman of the Guggenheim Foundation, did not entirely foreclose the future in his valedictory to the East River project.

"I remain personally committed to supporting an extraordinary architectural and cultural project for Lower Manhattan," he said. "I am looking forward to seeing this project, on another scale and perhaps at another place, realized in the years to come."

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2002/12/31/arts/31gugg.1.468.jpg

Fabb
December 31st, 2002, 09:31 AM
I can't say this is an unexpected bad news.

NoyokA
December 31st, 2002, 11:19 AM
What's planned now is a less intrusive Guggenheim and this isnt neccersarily bad news. This never should've been the focal point, and without the minimalist backdrop of the Twin Towers of the former World Trade Centers it would've dominated lower manhattan. A commitment to fine architecture in another location and at another scale could be a better alternative.

chris
December 31st, 2002, 09:19 PM
You know sometimes I even agree with Stern.

Kris
January 1st, 2003, 02:49 AM
NYC won't have its floating cathedral of culture. Shame. Oh, but it never should have been the focal point!

chris
January 1st, 2003, 04:19 AM
I don't know if I'm reading the inflection of sarcasm on the right syllable.

Regardless.

I liked Gehry's design. I'd imagined just how slick it was going to look with those two minimalist towers in the background. I think it is a much bigger shame that the World Trade Center fell (killing thousands) than losing funding for this museum. I'd hoped that the downtown revitalization plans might find funding to keep some version of this proposal alive. At a $1BB price tag, I knew it wasn't very likely to survive. There were questions even before September 11th as to whether all the money would ultimately come through, especially with the economy slowing.

The downtown we will have will not be the downtown this was designed for.

Fortunately cultural amenities will still be developed on a more modest budget.



(Edited by chris at 5:44 am on Jan. 1, 2003)

amigo32
January 1st, 2003, 04:49 AM
Perhaps, I am not very culturally enlightened or refined (gasp), but isn't Guggenheim somewhat overrated and extensively hyped to begin with?

Kris
January 1st, 2003, 06:21 AM
Not its architecture.

Kris
January 1st, 2003, 10:17 AM
Downtown has changed but the design was only an elaborate sketch; it could have been adapted or entirely redone. I don't think "modest" and "unintrusive" suit NY. Those are qualities desired in the morose mood of today and they engender nothing great. This is a unique and tremendous opportunity wasted. Couldn't they simply wait for a better time to expand?

NoyokA
January 1st, 2003, 07:17 PM
You know sometimes I even agree with Stern.

sometimes ;)


I don't know if I'm reading the inflection of sarcasm on the right syllable.

me either :)

Rich Battista
January 2nd, 2003, 01:43 AM
i am glad they decided not to go through with that thing. It looked so bad that it is just not funny. It looked so disorganized and dishoveled. They hit a jackpot when they designed the original, but this time they crapped out

lofter1
July 11th, 2005, 12:37 AM
i am glad they decided not to go through with that thing. It looked so bad that it is just not funny. It looked so disorganized and dishoveled. They hit a jackpot when they designed the original, but this time they crapped out

http://www.guggenheim.org/exhibitions/past_exhibitions/new_guggenheim/images/diary/123.jpg

This design was way too reminiscent of the horror show that took place a few blocks away.

Wonder if Gehry has ESP?

TREPYE
November 23rd, 2007, 12:11 PM
Reading this thread is like opening an old wound.

LeCom
November 23rd, 2007, 10:11 PM
Well then, thanks for passing your pain on and reopening a wound for us all.

Merry
June 22nd, 2009, 08:47 AM
Thank god this thing wasn't built :eek:. Photo from a recent interview (http://nymag.com/arts/architecture/profiles/57433/) with Gehry in New York Magazine.

http://images.nymag.com/arts/articles/09/06/gehry/images/1.jpg

ablarc
June 22nd, 2009, 09:52 AM
^ New York's Sydney Opera.

Alonzo-ny
June 22nd, 2009, 09:53 AM
Im glad it wasnt built. NY shouldnt have a carbon copy. Such a significant building should be unique, not 'NY's Bilbao'.

lofter1
June 22nd, 2009, 10:10 AM
Would you call Disney Music Hall in LA a "carbon copy" of Bilbao?

Gehry's Guggenheim design (all about wind and waves and towers rising in the mist -- or dust, as the case may be) is opposite in just about everything (except some metal skin) to his work at Bilbao (which is all about containment -- a ship in harbor).

No matter, the outdoor spaces here would have been great.

But, hey! We've still got that nice concrete walkway along the East River waterfront at the base of Wall Street. Plus all those great new buildings across the roadway (Hello, 80 South Street!) so who can complain?

Alonzo-ny
June 22nd, 2009, 10:14 AM
Ok carbon copy is a exaggeration but Walt Disney, Bilbao, NY Guggenheim, his building in Chicago all look very similar from the exterior whether the concept is different or not.

Alonzo-ny
June 22nd, 2009, 10:21 AM
To compare,

http://images.nymag.com/arts/articles/09/06/gehry/images/1.jpg

Bibao

http://www.instantworldhotel.com/Picture/Guggenheim%20Museum,%20Bilbao,%20Spain.jpg

Walt Disney

http://k43.pbase.com/g3/14/632514/2/55308395.buildings_04.jpg

Merry
June 22nd, 2009, 10:30 AM
Im glad it wasnt built. NY shouldnt have a carbon copy. Such a significant building should be unique, not 'NY's Bilbao'.

I agree. Gehry couldn't even come up with something different from that warped imagination :rolleyes:.

Merry
June 22nd, 2009, 10:34 AM
^ New York's Sydney Opera.

I can't believe you said that :mad:.

stache
June 22nd, 2009, 11:23 AM
You don't like Sydney?

meesalikeu
June 22nd, 2009, 11:33 AM
haven't we had enough of gehry repeating himself on his low-rise buildings? :rolleyes:

case western reserve university -- cleveland
http://www.bluffton.edu/%7Esullivanm/ohio/cleveland/gehry/0067minuslights.jpg

he needs to take a break on those if he can and do more beekman-esque towers....!

Alonzo-ny
June 22nd, 2009, 11:40 AM
Beekman is a high-rise version of that building.

Merry
June 22nd, 2009, 11:55 AM
You don't like Sydney?

The Sydney Opera House is a wonderful example of architecture.

I took ablarc's comment to be a comparison between a marvel of originality and that already overdone monstrosity, and therefore an insult to Sydney (and Jorn Utzon).

Did I get that wrong?

meesalikeu
June 22nd, 2009, 12:23 PM
Beekman is a high-rise version of that building.

of what gehry building? all of them? :rolleyes:

i know, i know, but at least going tall would let us potentially see another side of gehry's rather one note signature style. he cranks those low-rise bilbao-esque things out all over the place -- enough already!

meesalikeu
June 22nd, 2009, 12:28 PM
The Sydney Opera House is a wonderful example of architecture.

I took ablarc's comment to be a comparison between a marvel of originality and that already overdone monstrosity, and therefore an insult to Sydney (and Jorn Utzon).

Did I get that wrong?

yeah. i think he was just referring to its harbor placement and general dramatic-ness rather than a one to one comparison of which is better. at least that's how i immediately took it.

as for your take re which is better....ha, lets just say i wouldn't worry about that if you know what i mean -- there is already bilbao and there is only one sydney opera house :)

Alonzo-ny
June 22nd, 2009, 12:40 PM
of what gehry building? all of them? :rolleyes:

i know, i know, but at least going tall would let us potentially see another side of gehry's rather one note signature style. he cranks those low-rise bilbao-esque things out all over the place -- enough already!

I think Gehry's style actual works best on skyscrapers. The only buildings he has designed that I truly like are Beekman, NYTimes etc.

ablarc
June 23rd, 2009, 07:29 AM
http://www.instantworldhotel.com/Picture/Guggenheim%20Museum,%20Bilbao,%20Spain.jpg

That is so-o-o-o beautiful ! ^

The world has been enriched (and Bilbao put on the map).

Alonzo-ny
June 23rd, 2009, 07:38 AM
Not my kind of architecture. Id even concede some positives about it but I find it hard to do that considering what Gehry did post-Bilbao. I am glad it regenerated the city.

scumonkey
June 23rd, 2009, 12:00 PM
The only buildings he has designed that I truly like are Beekman, NYTimes etc.
Which NYTimes building would that be- The one that Renzo Designed?:confused:

Alonzo-ny
June 23rd, 2009, 12:02 PM
No his version was never built.

http://kwc.org/blog/resources/2008/nyt-gehry.jpg

scumonkey
June 23rd, 2009, 12:09 PM
Never saw that one_ must have been sleeping at the wheel:D (thanks for the pic)...I prefer what we got instead!