The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Bilbao’s Guggenheim is undoubtedly the most extraordinary structure I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s the kind of building you can walk around and around all day and still stare up in amazement and insist that you take a few more photos. I came home Bilbao with over 150 photos of the Guggenheim alone so you can see how captivated I was.

 

I’m quite ashamed to say that I’m not normally a museum kind of girl. As an avid traveller, I often feel like I should spend more time at museums around the world but, while the thought is appealing, I’m usually bored stiff before I’ve even checked my coat in. But this all changed when I visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao, northern Spain.

 

Established in 1997 by Frank Gehry, the museum is a landmark in Bilbao and as much a work of art as the collections it houses. There are paintings and sculptures by world class artists but it is the connection between art and architecture that has attracted over 10 million visitors over the years. Gehry said that he draws lines unintentionally and designs by ‘not thinking about his hands’. The first sketch of the Guggenheim was drawn on an envelope and Gehry didn’t take his hands off the paper once. He said he loves the free flow of the curvy building but constructing it was a massive mathematical challenge and they had to use a computer programme usually used for aircraft design.

When designing the Guggenheim, Gehry was inspired by fish and a particular childhood memory of buying a live carp from a market. Gehry’s grandmother has kept the carp in the bathtub until they were ready to kill and eat it and he remembered playing with it and being transfixed by the way the fish moved so freely and the long curving shape it formed at is swam. You can see that all the shapes of the Guggenheim flow smoothly and gracefully and you can’t help but be swept from one room to another with a dream like quality.

 

The outside of the building is clad with titanium panels like the scales of a fish and they are as thin as tissue paper but could potentially last forever. I love the way the panels reflect every colour and the how the whole building can change its appearance depending on the time of day or the weather.

 

The city itself was another huge inspiration for Gehry and he once described Bilbao as one large sculpture. The museum is the focal point of the city and from the inside it feels like a picture frame looking out over Bilbao. Gehry worked hard to make sure that the building welcomes the outside in and allows those who are in to look out. The sculptures outside the museum work like a bridge bring the city and museum together.

When designing the Guggenheim, Gehry was inspired by fish and a particular childhood memory of buying a live carp from a market. Gehry’s grandmother has kept the carp in the bathtub until they were ready to kill and eat it and he remembered playing with it and being transfixed by the way the fish moved so freely and the long curving shape it formed at is swam. You can see that all the shapes of the Guggenheim flow smoothly and gracefully and you can’t help but be swept from one room to another with a dream like quality.

 

The outside of the building is clad with titanium panels like the scales of a fish and they are as thin as tissue paper but could potentially last forever. I love the way the panels reflect every colour and the how the whole building can change its appearance depending on the time of day or the weather.

 

The city itself was another huge inspiration for Gehry and he once described Bilbao as one large sculpture. The museum is the focal point of the city and from the inside it feels like a picture frame looking out over Bilbao. Gehry worked hard to make sure that the building welcomes the outside in and allows those who are in to look out. The sculptures outside the museum work like a bridge bring the city and museum together.

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

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