Copyright ÂŠ 2013 by Winn Chen
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Dedicated to my beloved family.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao ......................................... 3
Sage Gateshead Building ............................................ 26
Water Pavilion ............................................................. 39
Introduc Blobitecture from blob architecture, blobism or blobismus are terms for a movement in architecture in which buildings have an organic, amoeba-shaped, bulging form. Though the term ‘blob architecture’ was in vogue already in the mid1990s, the word blobitecture first appeared in print in 2002, in William Safire’s “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine in an article entitled Defenestration. Though intended in the article to have a derogatory meaning, the word stuck and is often used to describe buildings with curved and rounded shapes. The term ‘blob architecture’ was coined by architect Greg Lynn in 1995 in his experiments in digital design with metaball graphical software. Soon a range of architects and furniture designers began to experiment with this “blobby” software to create new and unusual forms. Despite its seeming organicism, blob architecture is unthinkable without this and other similar computer-aided design programs. Architects derive the forms by manipulating the algorithms of the computer modeling platform. Some other computer aided design functions involved in developing this are the nonuniform rational B-spline or NURB, freeform surfaces, and the digitizing of sculpted forms by means akin to computed tomography. Blob Architecture – sometimes referred to as Blobitecture, Blobism or even Blobismus is a exceedingly organic type of architecture that exhibits profoundly soft, rounded and curved dimensions. Originating in inflatable buildings, pre-fab plastic structures and computer-assisted design exercises, Blob Architecture has given the world some of its most distinctive and memorable buildings.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Plans for a new museum in Bilbao date to the late 1980s, when the Basque Administration began formulating a major redevelopment of the region. Almost from the moment it opened in 1997, Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, with its distinctive titanium curves and soaring glass atrium, was hailed as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. Gehry’s use of cutting-edge computer-aided design technology enabled him to translate poetic forms into reality. The resulting architecture is sculptural and expressionistic, with spaces unlike any others for the presentation of art. The museum is seamlessly integrated into the urban context, unfolding its interconnecting shapes of stone, glass, and titanium on a 32,500-square-meter site along the Nervión River in the old industrial heart of the city.
In moving forward with the museum a site was selected and three architects, Arata Isozaki from Japan, Coop Himmelb(l)au from Austria, and Frank O. Gehry from the United States, were invited to participate in a competition to produce a conceptual design. These were no requirements in terms of drawings or models to be produced; rather, the architects were only asked to present what they thought would convey their concept for the new museum.
Eleven thousand square meters of
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a pinnacle in
exhibition space are distributed over
Gehry’s outstanding architectural career as well as
nineteen galleries. Ten of these gal-
in the field of museum design. It remains unsur-
leries have a classic orthogonal plan
passed in its integration of art and architecture,
and can be identified from the exteri-
maintaining an aesthetic and programmatic unity.
history, Richard Serra’s monumental installation The Matter of Time.
Millennium Library in Cerritos, California.
the largest sculpture commission in
building inspired other structures of similar design across the globe, such as the Cerritos
years. In 2005, it became the site of
Times Magazine. The Independent calls the museum “an astonishing architectural feat”. The
for temporary exhibitions for several
cent of fish scales.Herbert Muschamp praised its “mercurial brilliance” in The New York
wide and 130 meters long, was used
ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium,” its brilliantly reflective panels also reminis-
largest gallery, measuring 30 meters
time”,while critic Calvin Tomkins, in The New Yorker, characterized it as “a fantastic dream
ing forms and titanium cladding. The
of the 20th century. Architect Philip Johnson described it as “the greatest building of our
tified from the outside by their swirl-
though Gehry does not associate himself with that architectural movement), a masterpiece
remarkable contrast and can be iden-
hailed as one of the world’s most spectacular buildings in the style of Deconstructivism (al-
irregularly shaped galleries present a
When the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened to the public in 1997, it was immediately
or by their stone finishes. Nine other
October 18, 1997 Abando, Bilbao, Spain
Type Art museum Visitors 1,002,963 (2007) 951,369 (2008) Director
Juan Ignacio Vidarte
opened to the public in 1997,
it was immediately
hailed as one of the world’s
buildings in the style of De-
though Gehry does not associate
architectural movement), a mas-
terpiece of the 20th
century. Architect Philip Johnson
described it as “the
greatest building of our time”, while
critic Calvin Tom-
kins, in The New Yorker,
terized it as “a fan-
tastic dream ship of nium,” its brilliantly fish curial The
undulating form reflective panels New
in a cloak of titaalso reminiscent of
bert Muschamp praised The
calls the museum “an astonishing
The building inspired other struc-
tures of similar de-
sign across the globe, such as
lennium Library in California.
MUSEUM Once inside the Hall, visitors access the Atrium, the real heart of the Museum and one of the signature traits of Frank Gehryâ€™s architectural design. With curved volumes and large glass curtain walls that connect the inside and the outside, the Atrium is an ample space flooded with light and covered by a great skylight. The three levels of the building are organized around the Atrium and are connected by means of curved walkways, titanium and glass elevators, and staircases. Also an exhibition space, the Atrium functions as an axis for the 20 galleries, some orthogonally shaped and with classical proportions and others with organic, irregular lines. The play with different volumes and perspectives generates indoor spaces where visitors do not feel overwhelmed. Such variety has demonstrated its enormous versatility in the expert hands of curators and exhibition designers who have found the ideal atmosphere to present both large format works in contemporary mediums and smaller or more intimate shows.
When the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened to the public in 1997, it was immediately hailed as one of the world’s most spectacular buildings in the style of Deconstructivism (although Gehry does not associate himself with that architectural movement), a masterpiece of the 20th century. Architect Philip Johnson described it as “the greatest building of our time”, while critic Calvin Tomkins, in The New Yorker, characterized it as “a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium,” its brilliantly reflective panels also reminiscent of fish scales. Herbert Muschamp praised its “mercurial brilliance”in The New York Times Magazine. The Independent calls the museum “an astonishing architectural feat”. The building inspired other structures of similar design across the globe, such as the Cerritos Millennium Library in California.
Archite is the art of how
ecture to waste space.
The museum notably houses “large-scale, site-specific works and installations by contemporary artists, such as Richard Serra’s 340 ft-long Snake, and displays the work of Basque artists, “as well as housing a selection of works” from the Foundation’s modern art collection. In 1997, the museum opened with “The Guggenheim Museums and the Art of This Century”, a 300-piece overview of 20th-century art from Cubism to new media art. Most pieces came from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, but the museum also acquired paintings by Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still and commissioned new works by Francesco Clemente, Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer and Richard Serra. The exhibitions change often; the museum generally hosts thematic exhibitions, centered for example on Chinese or Russian art. Traditional paintings and sculptures are a minority compared to installations and electronic forms. The highlight of the collection, and its only permanent exhibit, is The Matter of Time (incorporating an earlier work, Snake), a series of weathering steel sculptures designed by Serra, which is housed in the 430-foot (130 m) Arcelor Gallery (formerly known as the Fish Gallery but renamed in 2005 for the steel manufacturer that sponsored the project). The collections usually highlight Avant-garde art, 20th century abstraction, and non-objective art. When the museum announced the 2011 exhibition “The Luminous Interval”, a show of artwork belonging to Greek businessman Dimitris Daskalopoulos, who is also a museum trustee, this met with criticism of, among other things, too much curatorial power for a serious benefactor. In 2012 David Hockney’s exhibition drew over 290,000 visitors to the museum.