Google and Guggenheim Museum Launch Design It: Shelter Competition Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

June 8, 2009

Today, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Google are kicking-off the Design It: Shelter Competition, a global competition that will challenge users to design a simple shelter in 3D with Google SketchUp, give it a geographic location using Google Earth, and share it by uploading to the Google 3D Warehouse. The summer-long competition, which begins on Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday and will conclude on the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th anniversary, is inspired by the work of architecture students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architectureand a recent exhibition of that work at the Guggenheim called ‘Learning by Doing’. A signature project in the school’s curriculum for over seventy years, students are tasked with choosing a location near one of the school’s Taliesin campuses in Arizona and Wisconsin and designing a small, 100 square foot shelter. Students are encouraged to consider human needs for safety and comfort, and more broadly, to recognize the connections between a structure and its geographic location. The Design It: Shelter Competition offers a twist on this assignment, empowering anyone – not just students – to use Google tools to think about design and ultimately share their ideas with the world.

After choosing a location in Google Earth, competition participants use SketchUp to design their shelters in 3D and upload them to the Google 3D Warehouse. They submit an official entry on the Guggenheim website and, within a couple of days, will be able to see their work, as well as other participants’ submissions, with the Google Earth Plug-in on the Guggenheim Museum’s website.

Competition judging will occur according to the following schedule:

  • June 8
    Contest begins
  • Aug 23
    Model submission deadline
  • Aug 23 – Sept 7
    Current Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture students will select 10 finalists
  • Sept 7 – Oct 10
    Public vote to select winner of the “People’s Prize”
  • Oct 10 – Oct 21
    Panel of architecture and design experts will select “Juried Prize” winner. Panel includes
    • Martin Cox, Principal, Bade Stageberg Cox
    • Neil M. Denari, Principal, Neil M. Denari Architects
    • Cathleen McGuigan, Architecture Critic, Newsweek
    • Victor Sidy, Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
    • Lisa Strausfeld, Partner, Pentagram
    • Aidan Chopra, Google SketchUp Product Evangelist
    • David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Design, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

On October 21, 2009, the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded. Both winners will receive airfare and two nights’ accommodation for two in New York City, behind-the-scenes tours of both the Guggenheim Museum and the Google Office in NYC, complimentary admission to selected NYC museums, and a Google SketchUp Pro 7license.

For more information, visit and read our blog posts on the SketchUp, Lat Long, and Official Google Blogs

To reach representatives from the Guggenheim Museum, please contact:

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Lauren Van Natten, Senior Publicist
212 423-3840 or

Nora Semel, External Affairs Manager
212 423 3881

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