Time magazine is publishing a series of 100 people who are “shaping the world and inspiring others to build a better future.” One of them, of course, is Frank Gehry. Yes, “our Frank,” the creator of the Bilbao Guggenheim concept, the architect who, with this project in Bilbao, has become one of the greatest architects of the 20–21st century.
This interview, by Belinda Luscombe, the publication’s general editor, focuses on this architect’s influence on the world through this project. Gehry discusses his work while creating the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and his architectural design philosophy. He also reflects on how technology has changed the field of architecture and on the importance collaboration has in his design process.
Gehry explains that he tried to create a building that was emblematic of Basque culture and its relationship to the sea, and how architecture can serve as a way of preserving a community’s history and memory, and can be used to revitalize run-down urban areas. For Gehry, architecture and culture are tightly linked, and architecture can be a way of expressing and enriching a society’s culture.
And in Bilbao’s case, this is undeniable.
Thirty years ago, this Basque-Gehry tandem revolutionized the world of architecture, of how to think about designing and constructing buildings, and the role of architecture, and engineering, in helping cities grow in stature.
We’ve always said that Bilbao’s urban transformation did not start with this museum, but we are fully aware, and never tire of repeating, that the bet placed by the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation on Bilbao, the genius of Gehry, the capacity shown by Basque industry and engineers, and the bravery and vision of the people who dreamed up and made possible this project, all combined to bring about a miracle: “stealing” one of New York City’s leading icons.
That was the statement we made in a 2016 article, when the museum was chosen as “the most beautiful in the world.” We recalled that this project was not “a folly” or “perishable,” much to the chagrin of those who fought against it tooth and nail:
Today, we Basques can say that we’ve achieved the impossible. We’ve “stolen” a Big Apple icon from New Yorkers. In 1995, whenever anyone heard “Guggenheim”, they thought of the fascinating building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on Fifth Avenue. Today, however, the word “Guggenheim” more often elicits memories of the Frank Gehry masterpiece in Bilbao.
We managed to steal one of the leading architectural from the 20th century’s “capital of the world.” And we also beat out the 21st century’s capital, Los Angeles, as we recalled on the tenth anniversary of the Disney Auditorium.
This interview, this article about 100 people who are “shaping the world and inspiring others to build a better future” is also about how an architectural project and a shared vision, combined with energy and strategy, can lead to a leading element that makes a difference and breaks with what came before.
It also talks about how a building, a project, can change a society’s perception of itself, and give it faith and hope.
We’ll leave you with the Time article, and an ETB documentary explaining how it was possible to build an “impossible building,” and do so on time and under budget.
Times – 30/3/2023 – USA
How Frank Gehry Changed Buildings—and Cities—Forever
Frank Gehry wants to build a park in Los Angeles. Not just a normal park on empty land; that’s for lightweights. Gehry wants to take chunks of the legendarily unlovely Los Angeles River, a 51-mile engineered waterway mostly lined with concrete, and suspend parks over them. It sounds like a pipe dream, or in this case more of a channel dream; it’s expensive, unprecedented, structurally complex, and anathema to many of the locals. But Gehry, 94, has made a career of overcoming such obstacles and, in the process, transforming cities.
ETB – 18/10/2017 – Euskadi
El edificio de Gehry parecía imposible de construir
Header photo: Installing the outer shell of the museum that got it all started, architect Frank Gehry, aged 94, reflects on his methods, his influence, and his new and ambitious projects. Vivek Vadoliya for TIME
Last Updated on Apr 5, 2023 by About Basque Country