A structure of titanium, glass and limestone
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was built between October 1993 and October 1997 and the site chosen, on a former wharf with port and industrial use on a curve of the Nervión, represented recovery of the banks of the river for the city, redeveloping them for culture and leisure.
Due to the mathematical complexity of Gehry’s design, he decided to work with an advanced software initially conceived for the aerospace industry, CATIA, to faithfully translate his concept to the structure and to help construction. For the outer skin of the building, the architect chose titanium after ruling out other materials and seeing the behavior of a titanium sample pinned outside his office. The finish of the approximately 33,000 extremely thin titanium sheets provides a rough and organic effect, adding to the material’s color changes depending on the weather and light conditions. The other two materials used in the building, limestone and glass, harmonize perfectly, achieving an architectural design with a great visual impact that has now become a real icon of the city throughout the world.