The Athens-based architecture practice Oiio Architecture Office has offered up a riff on an icon — they’ve taken Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim museum and mutated it, adding 13 more floors onto the structure’s famous spiral.
Renderings show a pristine white building spiraling up into the sky. The addition looks like nothing so much as a spinning top, complete with a little bit of motion blur. The Guggenheim’s current design has the floors expanding toward the spiral’s oculus. Oiio continues this aspect, having the central atrium converge to a point at the top of the 13 stories, leading to an “internal cone,” the architects write.
We live in an age of museum expansions. The Museum of Modern Art is continuously adding on to its (still recent) midtown building, lately with a proposed Jean Nouvel tower; the Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston slapped a Renzo Piano addition onto its traditional home; and the Philadelphia Museum of art has lumbered with a faltering Frank Gehry–designed renovation and new underground wing. Oiio’s proposal, then, is both a hilarious visual joke and a criticism aimed at the ridiculousness of museum real estate.
The Guggenheim will likely someday hear the siren call of more space, following other international mega-museums. But it already takes enough energy to make it to the top of the current building’s incline — if they’re going to add more floors, I’d suggest putting in one of those airport moving sidewalks to ferry visitors up and down. Oiio makes the point that the Guggenheim’s design has become so famous that it is inviolate, impervious to change. Their project shifts that stasis, “even the story of its alteration could become its extension,” they write.