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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Bilbao
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
light gray




  • This unique Museum built on a 32,500 square meter site in the center of Bilbao represents an amazing construction feat.
  • The opening of the museum provided a boost for tourism. Thousands of visitors come to Bilbao every year just to see the museum.
  • There are two ponds surrounding the building, one of them on the east side and the other to the southwest.
  • Eleven thousand square meters of exhibition space are distributed in 19 galleries. Ten of these galleries have an almost classical orthogonal look and can be identified from outside by their stone finishes. Nine other irregularly-shaped galleries present a remarkable contrast and can be identified from outside by their unusual architecture and the covering of titanium.
  • The museum has a total of 24,000 square meters of which 200 are occupied by a library, 600 by an auditorium, 1,100 by a shop and the restaurant and cafeteria occupy another 1,100 square meters. The atrium in front of the building is 300 square meters and has a height of 50 meters.
  • There is a tower next to the main museum building but it is merely decorative. It contains some stairs that go from Paseo de Abandoibarra to La Salve bridge.
  • The administrative offices of the museum are made of marble rather than titanium.
  • Before choosing titanium, 29 different materials including stainless steel, copper and aluminum were considered.
  • Each of the titanium pieces of which the museum is comprised is unique, and all of them were designed using a computer programme called "Catia".
  • Some years after the completion of the building some of the titanium parts have lost their brightness due to pollution and weathering. However, the facade is cleaned many times during the year.
  • The museum's location is quite noisy and because of that the glass used in the windows had to be special. The windows used are called "Natural 62" and were supplied by Idom.
  • The president of the foundation in charge of the museum is Thomas Krens. The foundation receives sponsorship help as well as public donations. Approximately half the money spent by the museum comes from public authorities.
  • Since its opening some people have demanded moving Picasso's painting "Guernica" from Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid to the Guggenheim as Bilbao is closer to Gernika, the town on whose bombardment the painting is based.
  • In 2001 it received the Outstanding Structure Award.
  • There are two sculptures outside the museum: Puppy, a 12-meter tall flower-made dog, and Mama, a 10-meter tall spider.
  • The first proposed site, occupied by Alhondiga, was rejected by architect Frank Gerhy due to its small size.

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Avenida Abandoibarra Etorbidea, 2
Abandoibarra Etorbidea 2
Disctrict 6

Technical Data

187.01 ft

Involved Companies

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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