Once upon a time, the city was excited, entranced and anxious for a new Guggenheim Museum on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Can you even imagine it now? Half a million square feet of exhibition space, wrapped within a Frank Gehry undulating helix, a new bastion of culture on the tip of the island topped with the architect’s signature whirligigs.
But then, 9/11 happened blocks from the proposed space, and a global economic downturn ensued, so that by December 2002 the project was canceled. Since then, the Guggenheim Foundation has planned some outposts internationally (hello, Abu Dhabi in 2017!) but all the action in New York has gone down at the current location on 88th Street.
Now, news has come out that the museum will once again take a crack at another spot in town. The Art Newspaper reports that it will move part of its staff and collection to a new location in an heretofore undisclosed part of town. It’s called the Collection Center, and it sounds a bit less ambitious than the Frank Gehry boomtime blueprints. So this time it’ll probably happen, which is good.
The report notes that “it is described by the Guggenheim as ‘one efficient, multi-use building’ with a ‘dynamic public-programming component’ aimed at New Yorkers.” And, also: “The Guggenheim plans to research ‘productive and hospitable office space designs.'” Plus: “It is also considering whether to hold a competition to find an architect.”
Another find-an-architect sweepstakes! The Guggenheim has already put out an open call to designers, asking them to send in all their wild and crazy ideas for the Guggenheim Helsinki. So, that could be a cool looking building. Or a disaster! What if they turned the New York Guggenheim Design Battle Royal Extravaganza into, like, a reality show? We’d watch.
No word on when the Collection Center will open.