Essay on Guggenheim Museum Architecture Analysis

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Designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 9.000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovative design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it.

Almost from the moment it opened in 1997, Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, with its distinctive titanium curves and soaring glass atrium, was hailed as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. Gehry’s use of cutting-edge computer-aided design technology enabled him to translate poetic forms into reality. The resulting architecture is sculptural and expressionistic, with spaces unlike any other for the presentation of art. The museum is seamlessly integrated into the urban context, unfolding its interconnecting shapes of stone, glass, and titanium on a 32,500-square-meter site along the Nervión River in the old industrial heart of the city.

Eleven thousand square meters of exhibition space are distributed over nineteen galleries. Ten of these galleries have a classic orthogonal plan and can be identified from the exterior by their stone finishes. Nine other irregularly shaped galleries present a remarkable contrast and can be identified from the outside by their swirling forms and titanium cladding. The largest gallery, measuring 30 meters wide and 130 meters long, was used for temporary exhibitions for several years. In 2005, it became the site of the largest sculpture commission in history, Richard Serra’s monumental installation The Matter of Time.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a pinnacle in Gehry’s outstanding architectural career as well as in the field of museum design. It remains unsurpassed in its integration of art and architecture, maintaining an aesthetic and programmatic unity.

Altogether, Gehry’s design creates a spectacular sculpture-like structure, perfectly integrated within Bilbao’s urban pattern and its surrounding area.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao—a spectacular structure made of titanium, glass, and limestone—was hailed as the most important building of its time.

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Guggenheim Museum is arguably the most important building of Wright's late career. A monument to modernism, the unique architecture of the space, with its spiral ramp riding to a domed skylight, continues to thrill visitors and provide a unique forum for the presentation of contemporary art. The museum is essentially a shell that evokes the past industrial life and port of Bilbao. It consists of a series of interconnected volumes, some formed of orthogonal coated stone and others from a titanium skeleton covered by organic skin. The connection between volumes is created by the glass skin.

Louise Bourgeois 'maman

This large 30 ft high sculpture is one of Bourgeois’ most well-known. Titled Maman, it was created in 1999 and is made of mostly bronze and steel with marble eggs inside. There have been several casts made of this sculpture and are placed in various places around the world.

This sculpture was made as a portrait, or ode to her mother. She was very fond of her and said she was her best friend. She finds qualities of spiders similar to those of her mother, such as weaving, nurturing, and protectiveness. These were all qualities she loved about her mother and conveyed through this sculpture, Maman.

When Tate Modern opened its doors in 1999, the museum commissioned Bourgeois as the first artist to exhibit her art in the massive Turbine Hall. Maman consisted of a tall steep spider sculpture representing both protection and benevolence. While this was not the first time Bourgeois had included a spider motif in her work, having appeared several times in some of her work during the 1940s, her 1999 exhibition at the Tate was certainly her largest. She first used the spider motif in a small ink and charcoal drawing created in 1947.

Her spider sculpture was created using steel and marble. Supported by eight thin legs, the spider’s body was suspended above the ground, which allowed audiences to walk freely underneath. Each ribbed leg was created out of two pieces of steel. Underneath the spider was also a wire-meshed sac that contained 17 white and marble eggs.

Bourgeoise’s spider sculptures were always large, but they got more massive between 1995 and 1999. Her largest spider installation was approximately 21 feet tall and showed the body and round head of a spider supported on eight stick-like legs. Over the years, Bourgeoise made spiders in a range of media and ranging in size. The smallest spider she ever created was a 4-inch brooch, but her largest by far was the Maman sculpture close to 30 feet tall and could only be installed outside. Today, spiders have become synonymous with Louise Bourgeoise’s work.

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