Modernism at the Guggenheim



The Guggenheim museum is a rich and interesting architectural design. The purpose of this paper is to look into whether the design reflects Modernist rules harmonizing to Paul Greenhaulgh’s characteristics of the Pioneer stage of the Modern motion. The other aim is to research this phenomenal work of art.

Frank Gehry

The Guggenheim museum in Bilboa, Spain was designed by a Canadian designer named Frank Gehry. He was born in 1929 in Toronto Cananda as Frank Owen Gehry. He developed a love for architechture since a immature age, together he and his grandma kept themselves busy by constructing futuristic metropoliss and fanciful houses on the livingroom floor.

He moved to California in 1947 and worked as a delivary truck driver, but besides enrolled at a College in Los Angeles.

While seeking to detect his passion he remembered that he ever had a love for art and liked to see museums. The artistic influence of his female parent and grandma propelled him to take categories in architecture.

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Gehry finally graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture in 1954. In 1956 he moved to Cambridge to analyze at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He did non finish his surveies because his manner of believing wasn’t regarded. He valued socially responsible architechture, but it wasn’t shared by others.

Fig 1: Frank Gehry ‘s house in Santa Monica ( freshome Design & A ; Architechture Magazine 2012 )

One of Gehry’s rules was: “ Architechture should talk of its clip and topographic point, but yearn for eternity ( freshome Design & A ; Architechture Magazine 2012 ) .

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” A perfect illustration of his architechture is his place in Santa Monica. The architectural community recognised his manner from his place that he transformed. He kept the original house integral and built the new one around it, this reflected that his assurance as designer was turning.

The Basque disposal began with programs for a new museum in Bilboa tardily in the 1980’s. A renovation of the part was on the tabular array. By 1991 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was approached by the Basque authoroties with an thought for a Guggenheim museum in Bilboa Spain. The larboard country of Bilboa was dilapidated, where it was one time the chief beginning of income for the metropolis. A big renovation program was on the tabular array to overhaul and regenerate the industrial town and the museum became portion of that program.

The Guggenheim Foundation chose a site for the museum and afterwards three designers were invited to take portion in a competion where a conceptual design had to be produced by each one. Coop Himmelblau from Austria, Frank O Gehry from the United States and Arata Isozaki from Japan. The demands were none and there were no footings for the theoretical accounts and drawings that would be produced. There construct for the museum was all they had to show.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim foundation chose Frank O Gehry’s construct and design for the museum. He was selected as head Architect and Director. He was encouraged to be advanced and make bolding in his design. He had a determined to force boundaries in reaction against Post-modernism.

He had the purpose to do the curves on the exterior of the edifice appear random with the exclusive intent of catching the visible radiation. A big visible radiation -filled atrium named the flower by Gehry, was in the centre of the inside of the edifice, with the intent of sing the beautiful hills and milieus of the Basque state of Bilbao. This undertaking was the pinnacle of Gehry’s architectural calling. “It remains unexcelled in its integrating of art and architecture, keeping an aesthetic and programmatic integrity ( The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation ( SRGF ) 1980 ) .”

Fig 2: Interior atrium of Guggenheim museum ( Phaidon nine 2012 )

Frank Gehry’s construct and studies

Fig 3: Ship like designs ( 2008-2014 )

Fig 4: Computer aided design engineering ( Pagnotta 2013 )

Gehry used the 3-D design package CATIA to plan all the writhing curves and because of the mathematical elaborateness the package assisted in the complex designs and computations that was impossible a piece ago. On Gehry’s hand-built theoretical accounts the surfaces, borders and intersections had digitized points to build theoretical accounts on screen so that it could be manipulated like alive sketchs.


The Guggenheim Museum is situated on the Nervion River border and is a complex merger of attention-getting materiality and swirling signifiers. This site on the Northen side of the river is besides on the Northen border of the metropolis Centre. On the South side is a railroad line and a route. On the East side the construction of the Puenta de la Salve Bridge is situaded. The span is cardinal to the edifice which circulates around it, a riverbank prominade is formulted with a public place on the South side. A narrow passageway to the chief entryway imitates a gorge and the curving paseo on the Nervion River.

The outside of the architectural design was a complex weaving together of complecting limestone blocks with thick fish graduated table like titatium panels aswell as glass. The Titanium panels suggests a futurist image.The edifice was considered a practical edifice but instead seemed like a big urban sculpture, that gives the feeling of a ship with the metropolis as background. It is considered an illustration of modern building.

Gehry’s chief thought for utilizing the Titanium tiles was to catch the sunshine during twenty-four hours and the moonshine during the dark to make contemplations that would that do the edifice seem like a traveling ship on the river. The museum has all the personal appeal of the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House.

The museum is set between two degrees, the river degree and the metropolis degree, 16 metres higher. A broad stairway connects these two degrees at the other side of the Salve span. The walls and ceilings of the museum are supporting, metal rods form an internal construction with triangular grids. In each country the figure of bars needed are calculated by CATIA, every bit good as the orientations and places of the bars. Several insularity beds coats the walls and ceilings of the construction.

Steping inside the Guggenheim it becomes clear that beneath the complex outer edifice lies an interesting alone universe. One of his chief aims was to make the position of big interior infinites that will non overpower the perceiver. Around the cardinal atrium the galleries are organized on three different degrees complecting via curved paseos suspended from the roof. Coiling stairwaies and glass lifts are portion of making an excessive vision, like a little metropolis within a metropolis.

In this 11,000-square-meter museum one can lose yourself in the 19 art galleries. Ten of the galleries follow a extraneous program, seeable from the outside with a limestone coating. The staying nine galleries can be seen from the outside by organic signifiers covered in Ti. These galleries houses about two hundred and 50 plants of the 20th century modern-day art from celebrated creative persons like the Spanish Masterss ( Dali, Picasso and Miro ) , American post-modern plants by Willem De Kooning and Rothko. Other creative persons are Eduardo Chillida, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Robert Motherwell, Clyfford Still and Antoni Tapies. The museum houses both lasting and impermanent exhibits of sculptures, modern-day art and modern media.

Besides the many graphicss from well-known creative persons, major examples of the Modern art motion are housed like: American Pop-Art, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Arte Povera and Conceptual art. Space are besides reserved for big scale in-depth installing art. The big countries of the museum were used by creative persons like Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra and Richard Long to make site-specific plants. The largest of the galleries estimated about a 130 metres long and 30 metres broad, houses a lasting installing by Richard Serra called “The Matter of Time” ( 2008-2014 ) . The museum besides hosts impermanent exhibitions and active plans like subject shows of art from all over the universe.

How was the Guggenheim received and reviewed?

In 1997 the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa Spain opened its doors to the populace. It was instantly praised as one of the most excessive edifices in the universe. The manner Deconstructivism was awarded to the chef-d’oeuvre although Gehry did non tie in himself with the architectural motion. The designer Phillip Johnson described it as one of our times greatest edifices, while critic Calvin Tomkins characterized it as “a antic dream ship of rippling signifier in a cloak of Ti, its brightly brooding panels besides reminiscent of fish graduated tables ( 2014 ) .”

Assorted other critics kept on praising the architectural admiration. Across the Earth the design of other constructions were inspired by the museum. In the first few old ages 1000000s of tourers visited the museum and generated a net income of about 500 million. In revenue enhancements over a 100 million were collected because of money that were by visitants on conveyance, hotels, stores and eating houses. This covered the disbursal of the edifice

Paul Greenhaulgh’s characteristics of the Pioneer stage of the Modern motion.


With the design of the Guggenheim Museum Gehry showed that he is a audacious creative person. His purpose was to plan a museum which would be a big accelerator for urban alteration. He wanted to do a seeable statement and give the metropolis a new individuality.

Social Morality

Gehry was chosen to plan the museum in an country that was run down and non economically feasible. Although society was non in the same status as the modern epoch after the First World War, but the chosen location for the museum was dilapidated and the potency of the country was unnoticed. After the museum was finished the impact socio-economically was enormous. Four Million tourers visited the museum in the first three old ages.


Frank Gehry exceeded the outlooks of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation because his design was so alone and advanced. It can genuinely be stated that his design was no imitation of any old architectural design and to the full Modern.

The Entire Work of Art

This undertaking of Gehry was an unbelievable integrating of architecture and art. He maintained an aesthetic integrity although he used diverse stuffs and designs and had an intricate mathematical value but, the design worked together as a whole to make an overall master-piece.


Gehry’s museum was an exceeding design that was accepted by the metropolis, the engineering was both practical and symbolic. It was so extremely valued that he was asked to plan a similar undertaking for the downtown Manhattan waterfront at the East River. He was willing to take on the undertaking with the same ardor.


The museum was decidedly a functional design. This undertaking was planned efficaciously and carefully to hold a practical, theoretical, proficient and economic quality. The museum meets all the functional demands but, it is besides really beautiful and has aesthetic qualities.


The thought of aesthetic progress and new engineerings demonstrated was an of import belief of the Modernists. Gehry was privileged in the sense that he could do usage of modern computing machine 3D-software, CATIA for his designs. The package aided him with the design of all the intricate curves and hard mathematical computations. This would non hold been possible ten old ages ago.

Anti- historicism

Gehry has ne’er spoken out to be Anti-historical but he was inline with the Modernists in the fact that he had his ain signature manner and was confidently exerting it.


Gehry used abstraction in the manner that he desired to utilize organic signifiers and stuff, he had no respect for cosmetic or nonliteral elements. His construction did non add abstract signifiers as an add-on but was abstract as a whole.

Internationalism / Universality

Gehry was an Internationalist because the interior experience and the head of an internationalist can non be explained. His molded universe consisted of images and constructs that was non cosmopolitan, like the patriots who aimed to coerce everyone to believe and believe the same. His abstract thoughts was a clear indicant that he was a Modernist in belief and was taking to make a work of art that was timeless, had value, map and cosmopolitan aesthetics. ( Lees-Maffei and Houze 2010 ) To Gehry, consecutive lines, forms and geometric signifiers were much more appealing than figures and images.


He brought forth transmutation and upliftment in the community with the Guggenheim and his museum had the possible to alter the psychological position of the people sing the work of art. The Gestalt psychological science was a new construct in the beginning of the 20th century but, is still current today and Gehry decidedly made usage of it. His sophisticated design was a sort of psychological therapy to the people who visited the museum. It changed their mentality and temper. The Modern motion believed: “ The flawlessness of production would take to a higher signifier of society ( Lees-Maffei and Houze 2010 ) ” .


As one expression at the theological doctrine of the Modernist motion, it is clear that Frank Gehry did non hold the same overzealous beliefs of that epoch. He did reference that he was against the Post-Modernist epoch.


The purpose of this research paper was to analyse, discuss and analyze the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, an unbelievable graphics done by Frank Gehry. After making this essay, it can clearly be stated that the Guggenheim was one of the great admirations in the architectural universe. Interior designers and designers were mesmerized by it and everyone wanted to be a portion of the “Bilboa effect” ( 2008-2014 ) which besides sparked a edifice roar across the Earth. After reexamining the Modernist rules harmonizing to Paul Greenhaulgh’s characteristics of the Pioneer stage of the Modern motion, Frank Gehry and the Guggenheim museum fits into most of the Modernist rules of the Modern motion.


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Modernism at the Guggenheim. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Modernism at the Guggenheim

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