Thursday's Child: Guggenheim museum, Bilbao

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One of the exciting aspects of traveling is visiting great buildings that are unlike anything you’ve seen anywhere else.  This month, I’ll tell you about some of that amazing architecture, and I’ll start by writing about the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain.

When the Basque region of Spain was revitalizing itself in the late twentieth century, it hired Frank Gehry to build a museum.  He responded with a titanium and glass masterpiece that was almost shockingly unlike any other.  When it opened in 1997, I saw photos of it everywhere.  I don’t know much about architecture, but I was captivated by this building that was so unusual, it was difficult even to describe.  Some people say it resembles a spaceship that landed by the water and never left; others describe it as an otherworldly boat.  Either way, it’s hard to take your eyes off it.

After admiring the Bilbao Guggenheim from afar for over ten years, it was a thrill to visit it in 2008.  My oldest daughter reminded me that as we walked around its perimeter, it seemed to change colour depending on the angle and the time of day.  Because of the swooping curves of the building, the reflecting pools of water, and the river that runs beside it, at times the building almost seemed to float, as if it wasn’t really bound to the earth. 

Inspired by water, transformed by light, the Bilbao Guggenheim is a triumph of architecture and a joy to visit.


24 comments:

Jess said...

I lived in Spain for 6 months, but didn't manage to see this. Thanks so much for sharing your trip!

justine said...

My aunt lives there (not far from where my dad grew up)! Such beautiful pictures ... thank you for the reminder!

Gloria said...

Beth waht nice and amazing pictures! gloria

Tasha said...

Quite a fascinating building! I hope very much to visit Spain one day. It's at the top of my to-see list.

allieksmith said...

Wow, what a cool looking building! I have always wanted to go to Spain because the culture just seems so lively :)

Valerie said...

Amazing architecture! I love the graceful, yet industrial look.

Carol said...

It's beautiful! I've been to the Guggenheim in New York so many times, it's such a great building. The Bilboa Guggenheim looks fantastic, I've never been.

Belinda said...

Oh wow! I haven't been to this museum yet - what a wonderful visit. Love the lines.

Jo Schaffer said...

How awesome! I have never been to that one. I was at the Prado in Madrid-- but it was not like that! It reminds me of a structure I saw in Chicago a couple of years ago.

Angie's Recipes said...

The Bilboa Guggenheim looks beautiful! You have been to so many places!

Lydia K said...

I wish I could be there! I miss traveling. What incredible architecture.

Claudia said...

I've had my eye on this building for years. How fun to hear your thoughts on it. I love the idea of the colors and shapes shifting as the light changes. I always thought the Guggenheim in NYC was a skateboarder's paradise!

Barbara Jean said...

I have never been there, although in Barcelona there are some crazy architectural wonders! I bet you'll write about some of them. :)

Beth said...

You're right, Barbara Jean. Wait til next week!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I am embarrassed to say that although I've read about the Bilbao Guggenheim, I have never seen a photo of it. Shame on me. What an amazing piece of architecture! With so many little ones, this is definitely not my season for world travel. As such, I especially appreciate your travel posts!

tinajo said...

Beautiful - and so unusual! :-)

Haha, yes it sure was a good trade - wish it was as easy with everything in life! :-D

Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

I love when people admire something and pick up and get to that sight. My kids and I have read about this museum and its fun to see it in your photos.

jillbert said...

It would be wonderful to see that in person. I like the top photo!

Barbara said...

My daughter is in the art business and I've been everywhere gallery and museum-wise with her. Lots in Spain, but never that one. It's a beauty.

Reeni said...

What a neat looking building! I laughed at the description of a spaceship landing by water! Describes it perfectly.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to visit Spain someday...

shaz said...

Wow, that is indeed an incredible looking building. Must have been even more incredible up close.

Giulietta @ Alterkitchen said...

I never went to Bilbao, but I studied this museum at the University... really really beautiful! An architectural piece of art! :)

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Frank Gehry did the Weisman Art Mueseum at the University of Minnesota and the add-on/renovation to the Walker Art Center. I'm absolutely fascinated by what he does with metal and glass! And every time you see them, it's always different. Just wow.

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