GEHRY'S MASTERPIECE - OCTOBER 2006
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, made of glass, titanium, and limestone, was designed by Frank Gehry and opened to the public in 1997 as a contemporary art museum. Immediately famous as one of the world's most spectacular buildings in the style of Deconstructivism, it is definitely considered responsible for the town renewal and the great appeal the city now has. Having been there in 1976, I must confess that the change is immense and the new Bilbao has little to compare with the dull, grey, degraded town I once visited. The Guggen has put Bilbao on the map...
"FROM TOWN - When you see the building from the Abandoibarra side (an area symbolising Bilbao's urban regeneration) the first impression, besides being huge, is that other buildings are growing around like mushrooms!"
"FROM THE RIVER - The view from the Pedro Arrupe pedestrian bridge (just in front of the University of Deusto) shows a spectacular monument, and one manage to see the whole building"
"COME CLOSER, on the River Nervion side. It seems that the curves have been designed to appear random; and Gehry has been quoted as saying that «the randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light»"
"SHIP - Located in a port town, the Guggen looks like a ship (huge...), in particular when seen from the Salve Bridge"
"SHAPES - The building's structure was treated in computer simulations that made it feasible to build shapes impossible for architects of previous times"
"MAMAN - The 30-foot-tall spider is a creation from Louise Bourgeois, born on December 25, 1911..."
"FOR THE RECORD - There are always some nice photographers passing by..."
"OUTSIDE/INSIDE - Pictures taken in the museum, but outside"
"PUPPY is now the mascot of the Museum. Jeff Koons' giant (12.4 meter) dog-shaped sculpture covered by layers of flowers has an interesting story. Created in 1992 for an art exhibition in Bad Arolsen, it was dismantled and re-erected at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Sydney Harbour in 1995. In 1997 it was purchased by the Guggenheim Foundation and installed permanently on the terrace of the Museum in Bilbao. In the summer of 2000 it travelled to New York City for a temporary exhibition at Rockefeller Centre. Puppy is certainly as photographed as the museum itself..."