Constructing the Guggenheim Museum

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Engineering


Department of Construction Management

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kirsten Davis


The structure our team has researched is the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain [1]. The structure is an art museum composed of nineteen galleries, known for its impressive and modernized facade, fabricated with titanium sheeting and glass [1]. It was designed with the aid of computers to provide a seamless integration into the industrial section of the city [2]. Attaching the almost 43,000 titanium panels that make up it’s irregularly shaped exterior required more primitive techniques. Modern devices such as lifts couldn’t reach some portions of the exterior, so mountain climbers were hired and trained to install the panels in their specified place [3]. The idea for the structure was proposed to the city of Bilbao in 1991, and the museum opened in 1997, with the project finishing not only on time but on budget as well [1]. The museum proved to be an enormous financial benefit for the city, bringing in nearly 500 million in profit during the first few years of its operation, with surrounding business generating an additional 100 million in tax revenue due to increased tourism [2].


[1] Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, “About Us,” guggenheim.org, para. 1,3, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.guggenheim.org/about-us. [Accessed Feb. 26, 2019].

[2] Pagnotta, B. “AD Classics: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao/ Gehry Partner”, archdaily.com, para 2,4,5. [Online]. Available: https://www.archdaily.com/422470/ad-classics-the-guggenheim-museum-bilbao-frank-gehry. [Accessed Feb. 26, 2019].

[3] Lampkin, B. (2019). 12 Facts about the Guggenheim Bilbao. [online] Mentalfloss.com. Available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/77971/12-facts-about-guggenheim-bilbao [Accessed 26 Feb. 2019].

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