field of view, perception and scale – why i agree the guggenheim NY is a masterpiece

you go to uni, get told things are masterpieces, see the photos – and then sometimes wonder why you don’t get it. Well that was my reaction to the Guggenheim, one of Frank Lloyd Wrights “master” works.

then i visited the building – and this is my take on why is masterful

  • a perfect understanding of scale & the limits of the human eyes field of view
    when standing on the top balcony you can, without scanning around, take in the entire space including 5 layers of balconies, the gallery walls behind them, the art on them, and a significant section of the ground floor foyer. You experience the entire gallery and stand transfixed as you follow people winding down the spiral.
    The space perfectly sits within your field of view, and your understanding of the space is immediate and exciting.
    Photos dont capture this emersive quality. The one below is the best i could find. The boundairs of the spiral match the boundaries of your perception. Its so good at first i thought it was a trick.


So what ? – well it makes me think a lot about the power and potentially misleading understanding you get about proposals using a 3D walk-though. I need to do research on human field of view and how they are represented in CAD perspective. If i get it right i can design a building as good as franks


About Jason Furnell

design thinker . experience designer . lo-fi sketcher . workshop facilitator . visual thinker . diagrammer . agile believer . multidisciplinary collaborator . build sequencer . incrementing and iterating . architecting information . presenting and pitching . master of design (its a degree, not a self assigned title) . dyslexic . misspell-er of many many many things....
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One Response to field of view, perception and scale – why i agree the guggenheim NY is a masterpiece

  1. Patrice Keough Gibson says:

    My colleague and I are writing a book and the photograph you have in this article would be helpful to illustrate a point. How might we obtain permission to use it, and how would you like it to be attributed?

    Thank you.

    Pat Gibson

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