One of the worlds most famous and, in many ways, successful pieces of architecture has created unsuccessful (and even dangerous) public spaces.
Great architecture and great public spaces should go hand and hand but, unfortunately, they seldom do. The arrogance of the Guggenheim Bilbao and the narrow approach to design and development it portends, is incompatible with a vibrant public realm. The public spaces around this building are a void in the civic life of a great city.
One might argue that this building has brought attention to Bilbao, but in many ways that attention has been a distraction, or perhaps an ephemeral high, for a city that has some of the best public spaces in Europe. By deliberately not just ignoring context but pushing away and hiding the cultural and social life of Bilbao, this building takes back much of what it gives to the city.
One of the world’s most famous buildings, this museum is in many ways an attractive and impressive piece of architecture. Unfortunately, as a public space it is extremely unsuccessful -- even dangerous.
Situated prominently on the waterfront near the center of Bilbao, the building interrupts the life of the city, and is an insult to pedestrians who would like to use the space for anything other than gawking at the building.
It is not clear if these stairs actually lead to anywhere. The building challenges locals and tourists (not to mentioned handicapped people) to enter some very uninviting public spaces and entrance ways.
People pass through this space as quickly as possible as there is nothing to do here but be impressed by the architecture.
What seems to be the logical entrance to the museum turns out to be a café - with no entry from the outside.