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Frank Gehry's Bilbao museum tops Vanity Fair architecture list

June 30, 2010 | 11:09 am

Bilbao

Vanity Fair recently asked 52 prominent architects and critics to name the most important pieces of architecture built since 1980. The winner of the informal survey -- which is to be published in the magazine's August issue -- is a familiar face who hardly needs more accolades from his peers in the architectural establishment.

Frank Gehry emerged at the top of the poll for his design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The curvy museum opened to the public in 1997 and has since become one of Gehry's signature buildings.

Of the poll's 52 participants, 28 placed the Guggenheim Bilbao on their lists -- about three times as many votes received by the second-place building (Renzo Piano's Menil Collection), said Vanity Fair. Gehry received four additional votes for three other projects: the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Millennium Park in Chicago and Gehry's own residence in Santa Monica.

In the August article, which has already been posted on the Vanity Fair website, Gehry is described as "the most important architect of our age" and "an innovator who came from outside the Establishment... whose sheer genius pulled him to the red-hot center of his art."

Also faring well in the survey is Rem Koolhaas, who received 16 votes spread over six projects created by his OMA firm -- the Seattle Central Library, the CCTV building in Beijing and the Casa de la Musica in Porto, Portugal.

Vanity Fair has published the ballots submitted by the survey's participants, which include architects Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss and the critic Paul Goldberger. You can browse them in an interactive feature on the magazine's website.

So whom did Gehry vote for? His ballot includes none of his own work:

Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing (Herzog & de Meuron)
CCTV Building, Beijing (Rem Koolhaas/O.M.A.)
Church of Santa Maria, Marco de Canavezes, Portugal (Alvaro Siza Vieira)
Cartier Foundation, Paris (Jean Nouvel)
MAXXI Museum, Rome (Zaha Hadid)

-- David Ng

Photo: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Credit: Rafa Rivas / Agence France-Presse

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