The Guggenheim Museum Bilboa, in Spain, was built in 1997 by Frank Gehry, a Pritzker Prize winning Canadian/American Architect. Mr. Gehry is well known for his modern architecture, much of which seems to defy logic with its curves and bends. Unlike many architects, he completed construction of the museum on time and within the original budget.
The curvatures of the museum were created using a combination of titanium, limestone and glass. The artwork protected from heat damage by the glass curtain walls that were built throughout the structure. The entire museum took three years to complete; it was started in October of 1994, and was first open to the public on October 19, 1997. Built beside the Nevion River, water reflects beautifully off the glass walls of the building that looks more like the sculptures it houses, rather than a functional museum. Even the entrance makes one commend the architect’s vision in making the building an extension of the modern art inside.
Design of the Guggenheim was created using computers due to the mathematical complexity of each curve. The resemblance of the museum to a ship was deliberate, due to the port status the town holds. If you look closely at the glass walls, you will note that they look like scales of a fish, and this fish design, which can be found in much of Gehry’s work, is carried throughout the structure.
Though the magnificence of the museum itself will leave you spellbound, do not forget the brilliance of the artwork within and on the grounds of the building. Many of the exhibits change periodically, giving visitors incentive to come often, though there are permanent exhibits as well. The museum is easy to navigate, which many be surprising considering the complexity of the exterior. Gehry’s creativity can be seen inside the structure, as visitors enter the atrium. Gazing up, your eyes will be drawn to the skylight, which resembles a metal flower, allowing natural light to bathe the room. A canopy covered terrace, glass elevators, a sculptural tower, curving walkways, and stair turrets are also featured in the interior design. The hours spent exploring this modern museum will be well worth the visit.
Not far from this impressive structure, still along the banks of the river, lies the Sheraton Bilbao Hotel. The hotel offers a variety of ways to relax, with an outdoor heated pool, sauna and fitness centre for your pleasure. The Café Chillida and Aizian Restaurant both serve Basque cuisine, designed to delight even the most discerning palette. Each room is equipped with modern conveniences, allowing you to enjoy your experience to the fullest. The Sheraton Bilbao Hotel is within easy access to Dona Casilda Park, where the Museum of Fine Arts resides, as well as the Euskalduna Conference and Concert Hall, making this the perfect choice to stay during your visit to Bilbao, Spain.