Tuesday, April 08, 2008



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..."


Anonymous said...

This is my last post of Bilbao 2006. Instead of starting by the obvious I let it to the end… The «Guggen» has been considered the «greatest building of our time» or «the best building of the 20th century», among other qualifications. It has also been included in the Hall of Shame as a public place, being considered «extremely unsuccessful - even dangerous». I post some pictures here and you judge by yourselves!
Hope you enjoy and thanks in advance for your comments.

PS: Is there anyone who could help me taking out the degraded grey from behind the now enlarged pictures? I don’t mind keeping the grey background on the side bar… ;) Thanks!

Peter said...

You have increased the frequency of your posts! Of course we all waited for the Guggenheim as a climax!

I'm definitely a fan of Gehry and maybe especially this building! He's now working on another Paris building (Louis Vuitton foundation). Looking forward to see the result.

You obviously well managed to create the larger photos! Great! For the grey shades I'm certainly not the expert, but I believe that you could try to modify the width in px under outer wrapper, main wrapper and sidebar wrapper..., but I don't use the same layout as you. Have a try with 900 for the outer wrapper, 650 for the main wrapper and 220 for the side bar? Good luck!

S-V-H said...

Hi Gil,

I like the larger view of your photos very much! And I liked to stroll with you the very impressive, futuristic Guggen and last but not least to see Puppy of course.

Thanks for sharing all these nice photos.

Anonymous said...

Spectacular-looking building! And I love Puppy! ;-)


P.S. Nice self-potrait

Shionge said...

Amazing!!! I am just overwhelmed, the structure everything and YOU :D

Tawnya Shields said...

That musueum is quite different. I absolutely love the "Puppy" mascot. How cute. :o)

The spider is pretty cool also. Glad it is just a scupture and not real!

Lara said...

nice shots! another wonderful blogging-experience!

lyliane six said...

Bizarre, vraiment bizarre!
Mais avec une certaine beauté quand on regarde bien les photos, cet immeuble tiendra t il debout durant des siècles?
Une grande touche de verdure avec Puppy, il est fait en gazon?
Nous voulions allez au grand prix de F1 à Budapest, mais celui ci a lieu le 3 août, Michel ne peux prendre ses vacances à ce moment, nous irons donc plus tard.

Azer Mantessa said...

that is a very spectacular building. a contemporary style.

indicaspecies said...

Ah, I would not want to call this type of contemporary art among my favourites. Your pictures are shot well and I particularly like the ones where R. Nervion is seen. :)

Dave said...

This most certainly is a really unque building. I can understand why it has a drawing card for tourists and visitors.

Lilli & Nevada said...

You have captured some amazing architect of some beautiful places. I have enjoyed your travels this week
Thank you so much for visiting mine and leaving such nice comments

hpy said...

It is a very particular building and surely worth a visit, both inside and outside.

alice said...

Je connaissais Maman et le musée à travers quelques photos mais, grâce à toi, j'ai maintenant une vue sous presque tous les angles! Et l'intérieur?

Lakshmi said...

your pictures look amazing and what impressive buildings...somehow, Im old fashioned enough to prefer the old ancient monuments ..Im still in the beaches of karwar..lost in an island

lyliane six said...

OUH! cette araignée ça fait trois fois que je la regarde et à chaque fois elle me fait frissonner!!

Nikon said...

Wow, Gil, this may be the best series I've seen by you!
Perhaps it's the new size of the photos & their clarity, I'm not sure but it is really an eye-grabber!
Congrats on your work of art depicting another.

alicesg said...

Hi trotter, Thanks for your comments in my travel blog and glad you enjoyed it.

The museum looked so lovely and the different angles you took of the building are fantastic. Make a great discussion topic. The spider is cool too. Have a nice day. :)

Olivier said...

l'architecture de Frank Gehry est toujours aussi folle et superbe. J'adore cet architecte et ce musée est vraiment très beau.

di.di said...

too many good pictures.. will try to digest one at a time :P

Ash said...

Wonderful images. I SO loved Puppy :-)

Love the larger image display too!

Anonymous said...

That building is amazing but I don't think I like the spider. :)

Tinsie said...

The giant spider used to be in London, outside the Tate Modern, and is now in Paris, in the Tuilleries garden.

Love the museum building :-)

PeterParis said...

Did you try my amateur advice?

Beefybob7 said...

Hi Gil,

I thought I had seen that Puppy before!

Great building shots from every angle.


Anonymous said...

That is a very photogenic building and so very much 'Gehry'. I only know the three buildings in Düsseldorf. I hope I will be in Bilbao some time to see it byself. Only the spider ... *brr* ;-)) Have a nice weekend, Gil.
Spring has finally come.

Chuckeroon said...

Tks....a great 360 of the Bilbao Gug. I'm grateful.

Greetings to you Trotter.

Marie said...

This is certainly a very beautiful and interesting building but still I don't like modern architecture. I'm a dinosaur :-))

Marguerite-marie said...

the curves catch really the light and the photograph is also very good!
J'adorrre l'araignée et le chien mais aussi certaines coubes qu'un oeil mathéméticien est obligé d'aimer!Merci pour cette rendonnée dans Bilbao que je n'ai fait qu'effleurer en descendant en Espagne.

RuneE said...

I must be one of those who find the architecture shown extremely exciting. I we can't use the materials and methods developed in our lifetime, we might as well be lioving in caves still

For the grey, try defining:

Background: #ffffff

in the Set-up

Noushy Syah said...

Hi GIL..Love the larger version of the images in here.It really gives satisfaction as you can see the details...

With the spectacular and impressive buildings like this surely put Bilbao in the tourist map!!

Happy weekend Gil.

isa said...

Down puppy, down...

Like you new format - just in time to really show off this gigantic titanium creation!

MedaM said...

Your photos look great. The building is impressive but modern architecture and this kind of buildings doesn’t attract me much. I am quite old fashioned woman.

freefalling said...

Well, I wasn't waiting for the Guggen as the climax, because I didn't know it existed! (I've led a sheltered life).
It certainly is a spectacular building.
I love the 2nd and 5th shots.
I must admit, I'm not too keen on "puppy".

Unknown said...

Great photos. I've never been inside a Gehry building, but looking at them from the outside, they are certainly intriguing. Gehry has been working on an athletic stadium here for years, but the project is so controversial (it involves tearing down private homes to build the arena) that it may never be finished.

Blather From Brooklyn

Wendy said...

It is a masterpiece and something I would love to see firsthand one day. Thanks as always for the journey.

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Ourquoi faudrait il choisir entre l'art contemporain et les oeuvres de facture plus ancienne ?
Dans ce domaine au moins je suis fidèle à François Jullien "Le sage est sans idée" et partisan de la disponibilité.
Superbes posts que je parcours irrégulièrement en ce moment, je passe le plus clair de mon temps à aménager un appartement que nous venons d'acquérir à Troyes et qui n'est pas encore connecté www.

Joy said...

I love the puppy! It's the most beautiful photo in this post.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. Have a great week ahead!

A Pinay In England
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Dalicia said...

i love the shots of bilbao :) it's definitely architectural magazine worthy...

Anonymous said...

Usually, I also like Gehry’s buildings. This one is quite impressive! He was going to work on a project here in Lisbon, but it seems that the city ran out of money, so don’t know if it will ever happen…
As far as the template is concerned, your suggestion is basically what I have, but the problem is with that awful background colour… :(

Thanks! That Jeff Koon’s Puppy, a dog that looks more like a cat, is amazing… ;)

Thanks. Blurred self-portrait is almost a trademark… ;))

Thanks. In particular to the reference to ME… ;))

True that Gehry’s buildings are unique, though the style is perfectly identifiable! This spider was created by Louise Bourgeois in 1999, it seems, when she was 88 years old… She must be now 96; wonder what she’s creating…


Je crois qu’il tiendra et deviendra un «classique» un peu «retro» dans quelques dizaines d’années… Puppy a une structure métallique couverte de fleurs; ça dépend de la saison les couleurs que tu y vois… Et l’Araignée de Louise Bourgeois, crée quand elle avait 88 ans, est impressionnante!
Je regrette que tu ne sois à Budapest pour la F1, mais je te dis qu’au mois d’août tu risquerais beaucoup avec la chaleur intense…


That’s an advantage of Gehry’s projects: some adore, some love, some disagree, some hate… ;)

Thanks for your comment; first time here, I believe!
The Guggen is actually unique, though there is now another Gehry’s building inspired on this one: Stawood’s Luxury Collection Marqués de Riscal Hotel in Elciego, Spain…

Lilli & Nevada,
Thanks. It’s always a pleasure drop by your blog; unfortunately not so often as I would like… ;(

Your right: worth visiting outside and, in particular, inside!

L’intérieur, ça ne doit pas être permis de prendre des photos; du moins je n’en ai aucune…

You know, some years from now, this will become an old fashion building… ;)

Thanks! The Guggen is surely a tremendous work of art!

Alice sg,
Thanks! Actually, there was, and still is, a great discussion on Gehry’s projects…

Folle et superbe! Très belle définition!

Thanks! With all your great posts from Spain I wonder how you’ll have any time left… ;))

Thanks! Don’t you think that dog looks like a cat? Amazing… ;)

That’s why I posted only the spider at the distance; when you’re under, it seems much more threatening… ;))

There are several spiders from Louise Bourgeois. This one was outside the Tate before heading to Canada, and Bilbao. I wonder whether it’s the same in Paris. Maybe…

You may have seen it maybe at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Sydney Harbour, from 1995 through 1997…

Gehry’s buildings in Dusseldorf are amazing, though I’ve not seen them last time I was there…


Do not agree with the self-portrait dinosaur; I’ve seen some interesting modern architecture buildings from Montpellier on your blog… Anyhow, in some years, decades, this Guggen is going to become classic… ;))

Sharp! You’re right; I didn’t think of the maths’ eye to catch the beauty of the computer developed curves…

Fully agree with the caves’ vision!
Tried the background; didn’t work… ;( Thanks!

Noushy Syah,
Thanks! Anyhow, you may always enlarge the pictures by clicking on them…
Bilbao is on the map now and that was due to the Guggen. No doubt!

Thanks. It’s amazing that I can’t enlarge some of the pictures posted two years ago; maybe Blogger has changed the upload system or simply I don’t know how… No wonder! ;))

I don’t believe that much in the old fashion categorization; it’s probably just a like/don’t like game… ;)

Quite sheltered to be immune to the Guggen fever… ;)) But Puppy was in Sydney; that’s why you’re not so keen on it, confess… ;)))

Thanks! Inside is also amazing. I thought I had some pictures, taken with the cell phone camera, but maybe they’re lost… Or simply I didn’t take them…

OK: NYC-Lisbon-Bilbao is a good choice to make the visit… ;)

Tout à fait d’accord avec l’idée de disponibilité pour accepter l’art qui est devant nous…
J’espère que tu finiras tôt et bien les aménagements à Troyes… ;))

Thanks! So you’ve finished the works in your new home?

There are many architecture magazines with pictures from the Guggen, that’s for sure…

Ming the Merciless said...

I saw Jeff Koon's PUPPY at the Rockefeller Center. It was quite an amazing piece of work.

I think there is a similar SPIDER sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in NYC somewhere. Either that or I've seen it during one of my travels. I remember loving and being repulsed by it at the same time.

I am so glad you showed us photos of the Guggenheim Bilbao. I think it is a spectacular building.

Did you know Frank Gehry was sued recently by MIT for leaks in a building he designed for the university? I will try to find the article in the NYTimes and post the link later.

Indrani said...

The spider and the puppy swept us off our seats :)
And the shots of the buildings... amazing structure really.

Anonymous said...

Don't know of Louise's Spider in NYC, but certainly read about the MIT v. Gehry dispute. Amazing...

Thanks. Gehry's Guggen is unique!

Sigma said...

Well ... all I can say is - incredible!!

Anonymous said...

And you're quite right!!