Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Location: Abandoibarra Etorbidea, 2
48011 Bilbao, España (Spain)
Built: 1993-October 19, 1997
Architect: Frank Owen Gehry
Structural Engineer: Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP
Subcontractor: CIFER S.A.
Lighting: BEGA Gantenbrink-Leuchten KG
Total size: 24,000 square meters
Materials: Titanium, Spanish Limestone, and glass
The museum’s titanium scale-like skin and curvaceous form work together to capture the light and reflect it off with fluidity also mimicking the flowing water in the nearby Nervión river.
“Gehry has noted that each random shape and buckle of the exterior is to catch the light, so on any given day, on any given time, you could have a myriad of sparkles, created by sun on man-made materials, that might never be replicated again.” (1)
“Approximately a third of a millimeter thick, the titanium panels are applied using a traditional locked seam. The material’s thinness, together with it application method, results in a pillow like effect.” (2) It is inspired by the texture and shape of a fish. The inside spaces are not like traditional museum exhibits; they include curvy walls and are an exhibit of their own without overpowering the art on display.
Gehry has always designed starting by hand through sketches and for the Guggenheim in Bilbao he has moved to a more advanced technology called CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application).
(4) This is the model that was exhibited at the grand opening of the Guggenheim.
Both CATIA and BOCAD (a steel detailing program) were used in the creation of the building. CATIA significantly upgraded the level of complex forms that could be realized by Frank Gehry. This allowed for more freedom in his designs and “simplified construction by providing digital data that could be employed in the manufacturing process, thus controlling costs” (2)
CATIA Modeling Steps:
STEP 1.DIGITIZING THE PHYSICAL MODEL
STEP 2.SURFACE MODEL
STEP 3.SHADED SURFACE
STEP 4.PRIMARY STRUCTURE
STEP 5.SECONDARY STRUCTURE
STEP 5.1.CURVATURE ANALYSIS
STEP 6.SHOP DRAWING
STEP 7.THE FINISHED BUILDING
(www.dac.dk and Gehry Partners LLP)
It took Gehry’s firm about “50,000 drawings and 60,000 hours of computing time to produce elements of the building façade. The splines were connected to the frame with a uni-strut adjustable joint. The joint allowed for the tuning of the splines to precisely support the titanium skin.” (3)
(4) The final elevation of the building.
1. Michael Hutagalung (http://www.frillseekerdiary.com)
2. “Frank Gehry, architect”. Colomina, Beatriz, Friedman, Mildred, Mitchell, William, Ragheb, Fiona and Cohen, Jean-Louis. Harry N. Abrams, 2001.
3. “Digital Gehry Material Resistance Digital Construction”. Lindsey, Bruce. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 2001.
4. “Guggenheim Museum Bilbao”. Bruggen, Van. New York, New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications, 1998.
Case Study by: Pilar Guerrero
ARE320K, Fall 2010