- Introduction to the museum
- Composition of the museum and the work of architect Frank Gehry
- General description of the museum
- Architectural aspects of the museum and its innovations
The Guggenheim Musem, Bilbao by Frank O Gehry
The Guggenheim Museum is an important architectural landmark in the Spanish and Basque city of Bilbao, Spain. It was built between 1993 and 1997 and is well known for its striking originality in architectural concepts using several layers and shaped in a highly innovative manner. The intriguing thing about it is that it can be visited both from the inside and the outside thus intensifying the visitor’s experience. O’Gehry spent several years working on its construction with the main inspiration being the shape of the fish which comes across as incredibly effective in the visual element. Actually the work can also be considered as a work of art on its own since it can be seen as a sculpture in its entirety. The museum is also actually a shell which recalls the past industrial life and the history of the port of Bilbao. There are also connections between the volumes which lie under the glass skin. It is actually integrated into the city with its height and with the materials used to build it since Bilbao and the Basque region are famous for their stone which is of extremely high quality and which is used at various stages to construct buildings. The limestone provides an incredibly suggestive backdrop as it shines brilliantly in the sun when viewed from the river opposite. Actually when the museum is observed from the angle of the river it appears as a boat while when it is seen from above it comes out as a flower.
Composition of the museum
Initially the appearance of the museum may appear to be considerably chaotic since there are various fragmented forms which are created by the titanium element and the massive glass walls. The building itself is actually built around a central element which rises to a height of around fifty metres and over which, a dome covers everything. Then Gehry introduced a vast network of bridges, lifts constructed in glass as well as stair towers which connect the no less than 19 galleries across the three floors of the museum. Each gallery has its own unique concept with plays of light and shade as well as unique proportions and forms. There is also a space for temporary exhibitions which is placed on the part of the building that goes under the La Salve Bridge.
Industrial products should serve a purpose and it is important that the design which is used is actually attractive and that this fits in with the norms and expectations of society accordingly. The design of a specific product also means that it must fit in with the design features which are conversant with this day and age. A typical example is a clock which has a number of functions but whose design is important for aesthetic and tasteful considerations. It is also important to note that the more intense the use of the product, the more design will come into the mix so it is crucial for the workings of the clock to be top notch and its design attractive since attention will be drawn to it most of the time.
The same could be said for buildings and architecture since functionality is of paramount importance when designing a building. The way natural light has to be filtered is very important for a building to be properly assessed and to carry out its functions accordingly and without hiccups. Omitting the unimportant is a crucial part of making a building functional yet at the same time attractive to the eye.
On this pretext, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao demonstrates the incredible architectural skills of Frank Gehry. He is probably one of the world’s best known architects and in the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao he has really managed to surpass himself. Using the options of shade and light, the museum is perhaps one of the first to emphasise the importance of sharing light as much as possible. The museum’s exhibits also fit in extremely well with the style of the building and one can enjoy the displays in a far more entertaining manner than in a normal museum. The building has also regenerated the Bilbao downtown area through its striking architectural features which have shown that the Guggenheim bequest brings an astonishing variety into the city.
Gehry’s style mixes well with the surroundings and the originality of it all also shows the way ahead for future projects. It is a building which uses a lot of metal and glass and which brings the modernist style of architecture to the forefront. In a way, the museum is reminiscent of the Bauhaus style of architecture although the striking originality of shape and style.
The Guggenheim Museum is a wonderful example of architectural imagination which demonstrates the importance of Gehry to the modern architectural firmament. It has brought the Guggenheim vision to the city of Bilbao as it continues to move forward into the 21st century.
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"Guggenheim Museum Bilbao", The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, accessed April 4, 2012