Design: Bilbao’s Iconic Guggenheim Museum

A New York classic appears abroad.

This week in design we take a look at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Once an active industrial hub, Bilbao had fallen on tough times and was in dire need of a revitalization. Fortunately, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation felt that it would be the perfect location for a $90 million museum. On October 18th of 1997 that dream became a reality. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the 120,000 square foot titanium sheathed museum is filled to the brim with some of the most well respected art in the world. Settled alongside the Nervion River, the unique structure has done a fantastic job of bringing tourism to the area. Although the building cost the city over $100 million, the costs were recovered after three years of operation through increased tourist traffic throughout the city. Composed of 19 beautifully constructed galleries, the museum at one point, had more gallery space than the three Guggenheims in New York and Nenice combined. Within the first three years of operation, the museum had nearly 4 million visitors. Still, the unique architecture of the building is its most impressive aspect. With a vast array of precarious bends and wave-like designs, the museum is a piece of art on its own.