Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
“Much will be written and said about the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in the future; we will simply be able to say that we built it.’ Juan Ramón Pérez, Works Manager for the Guggenheim Museum and Head of Building for the Basque country.
Humans tend to be fascinated by several sights and places. We see pictures and videos of those places we want to visit. And then we go.
The Guggenheim is bigger and bolder than I thought it would be. I had a window view and it is as peaceful to me as looking at the sea.
It is one of those rare works of contemporary architecture that dazzle the world with its modern styling and intricate structure. It is located in Northern Spain in the city of Bilbao, an industrial port encircled by the green mountains in Basque Country. The museum stands right next to the banks of the Nervión River that flows through Bilbao down to the Cantabrian Sea. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao features exhibits and works of artists from all over the world.
The glittering titanium museum is designed by Frank Gehry, an award-winning Canadian-American architect. When he was chosen by Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation as the architect, Thomas Krens, its director, asked him to design the museum extraordinarily. Gehry surely exceeded their expectations. The construction took place from 1993 to September, 1997. On October 18, 1997, the former of King of Spain, King Juan Carlos I, inaugurated the museum. When it was first introduced, the design awed the critics as well as the public. After its immediate and immense success, many similar buildings popped up all around the world.
Gehry is known for a number of renowned architectural designs including Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.
One might say that the artistic contents and exhibits of the museum are not as impressive as the structure of the building itself. To be honest, it would not be wrong. People from all over the globe pay a visit to the museum to witness the avant-garde structure that they have heard so much about. It is on the Northern route of the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrims usually make a stop at the museum.
There are no photos allowed inside the museum. This is good because it give me a chance to enjoy the works in a more relax and peaceful way instead of busily taking pictures. Sometimes I do wonder why I need to take so many photos and whether I miss anything by doing this.
The urban building is covered in glass, titanium, and limestone. The exterior structure feature random curves and hurls that catch and throw the lights while the interior is built around a huge, lighted atrium offering picturesque views of Bilbao’s river banks and the mountainous greenery of the Basque country.
The building spans an area of 32,500-square-meters (350,000 sq. ft.) The exhibition area has nineteen galleries.
You will be surprised to know that the museum was built on a strict time limit and budget. Gehry said he ensured that he had an accurate estimate of the budget, and that no political and business interests interfered with the project. Furthermore, he used his own software, Digital Project, to create detailed computer visualizations and teamed up with the individual building trades to cut down the costs.
Immediately after opening, the museum became a popular tourist attraction. The taxes collected from the hotels, restaurants, shops and transport itself has more than paid for the building cost.
The “Bilbao effect” refers to how the museum transformed the city. This is amazing because before the museum, Bilbao was just a faded industrial town.
My trip to Spain and Portugal started in Bilbao – a bucket list place for me. It was a more expensive trip than usual and I struggled with the decision to do it. But I believe that you should invest in your life for the things you love. I have no regret for this decision. Life should be spontaneous and without too much thought. Just go. The memories will be worth it.