With the available money for ambitious new buildings having shrunk to almost nothing in this country — and with firms continuing to downsize in brutal fashion — where will architectural ideas come from, and where will they wind up? What kind of impact will they have on the wider culture?

Those are among the tricky questions raised by “Contemplating the Void,” an exhibition that opened last week at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. As part of its ongoing 50th anniversary celebration, the museum invited nearly 200 architects, artists and designers to propose fanciful new uses for the 90-foot-high rotunda of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building. Curators Nancy Spector and David van der Leer asked the participants, whose biggest names include Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Toyo Ito and Rachel Whiteread, to leave “practicality and even reality behind” as they produced ideas for filling the space inside Wright’s famous spiraling ramp.

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Christopher Hawthorne
Los Angeles Times

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