Building Name – The Guggenheim Museum
Location – Abando, Bilbao, Spain
Architect – Frank Gehry
Owner – Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Builder – Ferrovial, Spanish Multinational Company
Year of Start – October,1993
Year of End – October,1997
- It was inaugurated on October 18, 1997, by former King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
- Built alongside the Nervion River, it is one of the largest museums in Spain.
- A road and railway line is to the south, the river to the north, and the concrete structure of the Salve Bridge to the east.
- The building circulates and extrudes around the Salve Bridge, creates a curved riverside promenade, and forms a generous new public plaza on the south side of the site where the city grid ends.
- The building alludes landscapes, such as the narrow passageway to the main entrance hall reminiscent of a gorge, the curved walkway and water features in response to the Nervión River.
- The metallic form of the exterior looks almost floral from above, from the ground the building more closely resembles a boat, evoking the past industrial life of the port of Bilbao.
- Due to the mathematical complexity of Gehry’s design, he decided to work with an advanced software initially conceived for the aerospace industry, CATIA, to faithfully translate his concept to the structure and to help construction.
- The building’s walls and ceilings are load-bearing, containing an internal structure of metal rods that form grids with triangles.
- CATIA calculated the number of bars required in each location, as well as the bar’s positions and orientations.
- In addition to this structure, the walls and ceilings have several insulating layers and an outer coating of titanium. Each piece is exclusive to its location, determined by the CATIA software.
- For the finishing of this building three materials were used- Titanium, Limestone and Glass.
- The finish of the approximately 33,000 extremely thin titanium sheets provides a rough and organic effect, adding to the material’s color changes depending on the weather and light conditions.
- The other two materials used in the building, limestone and glass, harmonize perfectly.
- The large, light-filled atrium serves as the organizing center of the museum, distributing 11,000 square meters of exhibition space over nineteen galleries.
- Ten of these galleries follow a classic orthogonal plan that can be identified from the exterior by a limestone finish.
- The remaining nine galleries are identified from the outside by swirling organic forms clad in titanium.
- The largest gallery is 30 meters wide and 130 meters long and houses a permanent installation called “The Matter of Time” by Richard Serra.
- In its first three years, almost 4 million tourists visited the museum, helping to generate about €500 million in economic activity. The regional council estimated that the money visitors spent on hotels, restaurants, shops and transport allowed it to collect €100 million in taxes, which more than paid for the building cost.