Last month the Canadian-born architect who first moved to Los Angeles in 1949 was covered in the news quite extensively. NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post have all featured Gehry and his life’s work in some fashion or another. One of the most mentioned works of architecture is, of course, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It was in 1997 that the museum was built in effort to bring an appreciation of culture to the Basque city that had been lying in industrial ruin. This “ship-wreck” was the viewed as a “promise of a new city” as described by Dr. Joseba Zulaika. Gehry’s work and its contribution to Bilbao is a main theme of Prof. Zulaika’s class, “The Bilbao Guggenheim,” in which I’m enrolled this semester. I knew nothing of the back story involved in terms of why and how the building of the Guggenheim came to be, but by reading That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City, Prof. Zulaika’s book on the transformation of the city and its people, I am finding out about the struggle and importance of building this museum.
Click on the book link provided above for your own copy, or check out the story from NPR’s Susan Stamberg below:
Here are a few of Frank Gehry’s famous works, with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao at top