The Guggenheim Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum, featuring permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. It is seen as one of the most important works of architecture completed since 1980, and is admired universally by critics, academics and the general public.
The curves on the museum were designed to appear random, and Gehry has been quoted as saying that “the randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light”.
The Guggenheim Museum is a prime example of Gehry's style and method. Like many of his other works, its structure consists of sculpted organic contours, with its reflective titanium panels resembling fish scales.
This organic affiliation is a feature commonly associated with Gehry’s work. Located as it is in a port town, the museum is designed to resemble a ship. Also typical of Gehry is the fact that the museum is a product of the technology of the time. Computer aided visualisations were used prominently in the design process. This enabled the construction of shapes that had previously been unfeasible.
The Museum was surprisingly completed on time and on budget, a rarity for architecture of its type. Gehry insists he achieved this through preventing political and business interests from interfering in the design process, formulating a detailed and realistic cost estimate before he began work, and using computer aided design to control costs during construction.
The Guggenheim Museum was constructed as part of a revitalisation effort for the city of Bilbao, and upon its opening became an immediate popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the globe. The building had been widely credited with placing Bilbao on the map.
- Wikipedia, “Guggenheim Museum Bilbao”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guggenheim_Museum_Bilbao
- Great Buildings Online, http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Guggenheim_Bilbao.html
- DeTnk, http://www.detnk.com/node/2388
- "Building Anticipation", http://blog.toyota.co.uk/building-anticipation