The rich architectural history of the complex began with the completion of the first museum building, built in 1939 by the design of Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, and it immediately became clear that there was not enough space. Philip Johnson built two additional buildings for MOMA - in 1951 (now demolished) and in 1964. Cesar Pelli added exhibition spaces to the complex, as well as a 52-storey "Museum Tower" residential complex.
Taniguchi, who worked on the reconstruction project together with the Kon Pedersen Fox bureau, tried to preserve all the traces of the previous restructuring, highlighting in them unexpected angles.
Despite the fact that the 20th century is over, and for a long time the most modern art has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, the architect did not give the building an intense focus on the future. On the contrary, the emphasized linearity and smooth surfaces of the walls convey the completeness of this historical experience.
The new lobby with a facade of gray glass and black granite is preceded by an ensemble of buildings of different times. Inside, passing along a row of white columns, the visitor enters a huge atrium, around which exhibition galleries on all six floors are concentrated. Light bridges at the far wall of the lobby connect the halls at different levels.
Later works are located on the lower tiers, early, unconditional classics of 20th century art - at the top.
When the visitor looks down from the upper tier of the halls, he sees among the light and, as it were, dissolving in the air architecture the most significant works of a particular period. Looking through the glass wall of one of the facades of the Taniguchi annexe, Rodin's Balzac and Italian sports cars are simultaneously visible in galleries of different levels.
A special place in the ensemble of the museum is occupied by a garden with weeping birches and marble bridges, located behind the glass wall of the lobby. It is located on low terraces that give it a spacious feel. Along with the new six-storey building, old buildings, which now house an educational center, a film library and a photo archive, also open into the garden.