Guggenheim Restoration

A few years back, I was lucky enough to shoot the most recent restoration of the Guggenheim Museum. It was an amazing project, one that took quite a bit of modern day engineering and architecture. Looking at the building today, you wouldn't guess it had all the cracks shown in the graphic above!

WASA Architects and Robert Silman Associates, experts in the field of restoration, were called in to laser survey, computer model, and put a very cracked tea cup back together again. After all was said and done, the team was able to maintain the Frank Lloyd Wright classic's signature look.

I was chomping at the bit thinking this would be an exciting project to shoot, but all the drama was in the design, not necessarily the work, which was done in tight, dark spaces that were closed off from any other visual reference to the museum's trademark curves. At the end of the day the photos were interesting but quite a bit less dramatic than I had hoped going in.

In the above shots you can see a few phases of the work: crack and building movement monitoring (yes, buildings move and the Guggenheim, given the shape, type of construction, and seasonal temperatures, moves quite a bit), restoration of the steel ribs inside the outside walls, and carbon-fiber reinforcement of the curved concrete outside walls (a space age "belt" that retains the curved concrete from moving outward).

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