This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In 2005, while I was an architecture student at Columbia, visions of Bilbao danced through my classmates’ heads as they flocked to an architecture studio whose brief was to design an all-new Guggenheim Museum on Governors Island. I will admit that the prospect of exhibiting a spectacle for Columbia’s end-of-year show was seductive. But conducting field research for that class required only subway and ferry rides, while a studio offering in the historic preservation program promised a trip to Rome. I passed on creating another paper icon for New York and traveled to the Esposizione Universale Roma for one week that fall.