Inspired by a few posts today, I’m posting up some old sketches of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao. iirc, I did these from photos I took a few years ago, not long after I’d returned from the city. I’m posted because of a post by Peter Lindberg at Tesugen, reacting to Nikos Salingaros’ view that Gehry’s Guggenheim doesn’t deal with context. One of the key things I drew from experiencing the Bilbao Guggenheim was just how situated it was in local context, with the form echoing the great hulls of the now-departed ships from the docks and how the gallery actually absorbed the local traffic system, river, and local bridges. In rough sketches here, you can see how the existing road bridge merges into the new building itself, such that from inside the gallery the traffic sweeps around you, whereas from outside, in car, it’s almost as if you’re driving through a wing of the gallery. As Peter notes, the building means a great deal to the people of Bilbao. It’s contextual in design, and it’s contextual now. The sketches show that aspect of the Guggenheim, with the existing road bridge struts to the left, and the road curving around the structure to the right (these are details – click for the larger image):
I’m not going to apologise for the hasty, impressionistic style of the sketches. Having tried and failed to draw the thing vaguely accurately, I decided the only possible response was to let go. A decent monograph about Gehry’s work notes his own preferred drawing style (it’s amazing how many drawings he produces, given how his work is presumed to be entirely computer-generated) – Gehry lets his pen flow across the paper, rarely if ever lifting it from the page. He likens it to an ice-skater, sweeping around the ‘canvas’ but not leaving the ice. I wasn’t aware of this when I did these drawings, but inspired by Rodcorp’s recent experiments in ‘How simply and recognisably can we draw buildings?’, in turn inspired by Things Magazine’s post on buildings as logos (including ‘building logotype tennis’ by Jonathan Bell and I in the comments there), I’m posting these sketches here anyway. The only way I could think of representing the sinuous form of Gehry’s Guggenheim was let the pen go (again, these are details – click for the larger image) …
Bearing in mind Rodcorp’s question, are these incredibly quick and ‘careless’ scribbles recognisably Guggenheim?
Tesugen: Salingaros on Deconstructionism
Rodcorp: How simply and recognisably can we draw buildings?
Thingsmagazine: buildings as logos
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