Guggenheim effect | Spain

Guggenheim effect

Bilbao | Spain

Our bus passes quickly through the unostentatious hilly landscape of northern Spain. Although the journey from the airport to the center is supposed to be short, there is still not even the slightest hint of suburbanization in front of us. Finally, there is a customs gate, followed by a tunnel. A man suddenly starts to wonder with an open mouth where he found himself. In no time, you are in the very center, crossing the iconic La Salve bridge and passing an even more iconic building, or rather the symbol of Bilbao – the Guggenheim Museum.

Some slow piano as an ambient music?

Guggenheim effect ~
the story of a single building changing

the character of the entire city

Until the mid-nineties of the twentieth century, anyone would hardly recommend the center of the Basque Country for a visit. In those days, Bilbao was the industrial center of the region and an important strategic center of metallurgy for Spain. However, it is then that the city begins to catch a new breath. Moreover, the plan is a comprehensive urban renewal. Unquestionably it everything culminates with the inauguration of the ambitious building of the Guggenheim Museum. A deconstructivist masterpiece by the famous Canadian American architect Frank Gehry (who, among other things, participated with Vlad Milunić in the design of the Dancing House in my hometown – Prague). Hence the newly created terminus technicus – the Guggenheim effect, has since illustrated the impact of a single building on the entire city and the start of tourism derived from it anywhere in the world.

1 hour and 15 minutes in 12 seconds
and 575 frames

I do not even know if it is possible to take a bad photo of the Guggenheim Museum. In fact the building is so photogenic that you can capture only nice shots and then the superior quality. One thing is to capture the building as a whole as it floats like a gigantic steel ship over the water surface of the Nervión River. The second is to focus on the individual details of the building and arrange the apparent chaos into an eye-pleasing composition.

I visited Bilbao for the first time in 2017 as a winner of the photography competition Symmetry and Geometry in Architecture, organized by the Czech representative of Canon. And then once more for a few days a little over a year later. In 2017, we missed the blue hour, so I was glad I could experience it on the next visit. The opening time-lapse video covers the period from golden hour to dusk. That is one hour and fifteen minutes packed into twelve seconds and 575 frames. Unfortunately, this timelapse also cost us the last subway, which caused an unplanned night march to accommodation on the outskirts of Bilbao, about 12 km from the center.

Guggenheim Museum

Can be found in the very heart of the city at: 43.269368, -2.934823. It is best accessible from the  station Guggenheim with tram no. 5, or from the slightly more distant metro station San Mamés, through the parks and promenade.

Admission: adults: 13€ / students until 26 years and seniors: 6.5€ / under 18 years of age: free | webpages of the museum

In the footsteps of modern architecture

Bilbao is a paradise for lovers of modern and bold architecture. As such, it offers countless interesting buildings with novel facades, elements of minimalism, and numerous geometric shapes. While doing an architecture tour, do not forget to visit the basketball Bilbao Arena, composed of “dragon scales” the adjacent Catholic church Iglesia Santa María Josefa, or the football home of Athletica Bilbao San Mamés. In another case, the subway itself is definitely worth your attention. Let yourself be driven, to the terminal, from where you can walk to the nearest beach and the Atlantic in less than 15 minutes. Simultaneously on the way there, I also recommend getting off at the Sarriko station, which is, according to my consideration, the most breathtaking in the city.

TOP 7 spots of modern architecture in Bilbao

I selected the most interesting architectural places from my point of view, which are publicly accessible.

1. Iberdrola Tower – the tallest building in Bilbao, with glassy minimalism. 43.26812401843136, -2.9387514819055416
2. San Mamés – Athletic Bilbao football stadium 43.264191480268046, -2.949375346225221

3. Zubizuri – interesting pedestrian bridge 43.266734934984086, -2.9277713868225437

4. Plaza de la Convivencia – square with a view of mirror-image buildings of the same height 43.26576476292698, -2.9290522783758757

5. Bilbao Arena – basketball arena 43.25219739977991, -2.9258360697170542

6. Iglesia Santa María Josefa – modern catholic church 43.25187481775792, -2.9289368024649565

7. Sarriko – interesting metro station 43.274533016318074, -2.957561685342052

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