The Guggenheim Bilbao museum, art and avant-garde



Enjoying a million visits per year, the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum has become one of the emblems that have made Bilbao one of the avant-garde cities of the 21st century. The breathtaking building and the importance of the work of art it holds make this city one of the five only in the world to benefit from the funds of this important collection. Come and discover this temple of art and modernity.

Bilbao is part of the select group of cities hosting a Guggenheim Museum. The other four privileged cities are New York, Las Vegas, Berlin and Venice. The unique structure of the museum's building, designed by Frank O. Gehry, makes a harmonic set which acts as background to the city. Titanium scales, glass curtains and stone curves designed with complex mathematic formulas give shape to this enormous "architectural sculpture" showing perspectives never seen before.

Looking at the impressive figure of the building from outside, we see how the fine titanium panels covering the museum look like fish scales and reflect fanciful shapes on the waters of the Nervion estuary. In the bright interior, the three floors are connected by glass lifts, stair towers and curved footbridges climbing up the walls as motorways. Despite the architectural complexity, a world of order opens to our eyes, nicely indicated, showing important works of art of the 20th century and making Bilbao part of the main international culture circuits.

The Gugenheim Bilbao museum is also a new model of museum because it shares its funds with the other institutions. For this reason, its permanent collection is shown in different ways and the contents are renewed periodically. Each visit is a unique experience.

Otras construcciones de vanguardia

Junto al museo, otros arquitectos de prestigio han dejado su huella en Bilbao. Norman Foster ha ideado un metro de aspecto futurista, amplio y luminoso; Santiago Calatrava ha diseñado el aeropuerto La Paloma, además del puente Zubi-Zuri que atraviesa la ría en el corazón de la ciudad; y Federico Soriano y Dolores Palacios han homenajeado al pasado astillero con el Palacio de Congresos y de la Música de Euskalduna, un edificio metálico que es otro emblema bilbaíno del siglo XXI. Estas construcciones de vanguardia, rompedoras con las formas arquitectónicas convencionales, se integran con armonía y renuevan la infraestructura de una urbe que mira al futuro sin perder sus tradiciones.

Other avant-garde buildings

Next to the museum, other prestigious architects have left their trace in Bilbao. Norman Foster has conceived a wide and bright underground with a futuristic appearance; Santiago Calatrava has designed the airport La Paloma, as well as the bridge Zubi-Zuri crossing the estuary in the centre of the city; and Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios have paid tribute to the city's shipyard past with the Euskalduna conference hall and auditorium, a metallic building which also acts as emblem of the 21st century Bilbao. These avant-garde buildings, breaking away from traditional architectural shapes, blend in smoothly and renew the infrastructure of a city welcoming the future without losing its customs.

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