Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Avenida Abandoibarra, 2
48001 Bilbao

Frank Gehry 1997

Built within the context of Bilbao Ria 2000 Plan to revitalize some industrial areas of the city of Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum was designed by the American architect Frank O. Gehry. The Basque Government’s brief was to have one of the most significant 20th century buildings, and finally it was.

This masterpiece is a kind of urban sculpture that gives people the impression of being a ship in the Nervión River, or even a metallic flower, from an aerial view. It is set between two levels: the river level and the city level, 16 meters higher. The plot is crossed by the Puente de la Salve bridge, embraced by a sculptural tower that makes it part of the compound. It has wide stairs that connect again the two different levels at the other side of the bridge.

This sculptural building is composed by different volumes with different uses apart from the exhibition rooms: an auditorium, a library, offices, a café and a restaurant.

Gehry uses blocks of limestone, half-millimeter-thick titanium panels, glass curtains and a water surface at the rear. Limestone represents the tradition (Deusto University, on the other side of the river, is made of sandstone) and titanium panels give the building a futurist image. On the inside, exhibition rooms are large enough to show Modern Art, that includes great scale works, like Rosenquist and Warhol’s pictures.

María Gradín 2007


How to visit

Guggenheim Museum is on the riverside, between the Puente de la Salve Bridge, Abandoibarra Avenue, the Muelle de la Campa and Mazarredo Zumardia.

By underground: go to Moyua Station, then walk. Take Elkano Street to Plaza de San José, then the second street on the right hand side: Iparragirre Kalea and go straight to the Museum.

By tram: Guggenheim stop Bus (Bilbobus): Lines 1, 10, 13, 18, stopping at the Fine Arts Museum Square. Lines 13, 27, 38, 46 & 48, stopping at Alameda de Recalde no. 11 & 12. Lines 11, 71 stopping at La Salve Square.

For further information and opening times please visit


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