The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum

Page Tools

The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum | Notes of Interest

It was both an incredible honor and an exhilarating challenge to create The Wright, the new restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum -- which is the first addition to the building’s iconic interior. We sought to create a contemporary response to complement the building with an extremely modest budget and 1,600 square feet in which to work.

Our design solution references the building’s architecture, what Wright specifically called “the primitive initial,” without repeating it. In the process, we transform underlying architectural geometries into dynamic spatial effects. The sculptural forms create a flared ceiling. The undulating walls become comfortable seating. The arced bar and communal table animate the space. The playfulness of these forms offers a dynamic experience for visitors.

This project is highly tactile and crafted from innovative, contemporary materials. These include fiber-optic layered walnut, a shimmering skin of innovative custom metalwork, seamless Corian surfaces, illuminated planes of woven grey texture, and a glowing white canopy of layered taut membranes. Together these materials and colors form a perfect complement to the site-specific artwork by Liam Gillick. The surfaces and textures embody movement, creating an ever-changing aesthetic that is enlivened with subtle layers of illumination and glowing tiers of light that envelope the room.

The space achieves an elegant and dynamic setting for dining that both celebrates the museum and transcends it.

Additional Credit

Engineer: HHF Design Consulting, Ltd.
General Contractor: James G. Kennedy & Co., Inc.
Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates

Photo Credit

© Peter Aaron

The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum

Jury Comments

This project is sensitively handled and respectful of the essence of the original architecture.

With the confined space and ostensibly modest budget, given those challenging constraints, this project is exceptional. Of special note is the programmatic flexibility.

The design approach was controlled but playful, and complements the nuance of the museum overall movement and dynamic.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

  • Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, Chair
  • CMB Architects
  • Akron
  • Robert Allen, Jr., AIA
  • Metalhouse
  • Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Mark Jensen, AIA
  • Jensen Architects
  • San Francisco
  • David Lenox, AIA
  • University Architect/Dir. Campus Planning
  • Stanford University
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Erick S. Ragni, AIA
  • MaRS Architects
  • Houston

Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy