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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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Comments () | Archives (4)

I thoroughly agree with this ranking for Gehry, but he's gotta consider putting on a new thinking cap before long or he's going to end up repeating himself into the ground.
(The new Vegas clinic with the tacked-on facades - nah.)

I have been to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, it is wonderful both outside and inside.

You mean Thom Mayne's CalTrans building in downtown LA (a.k.a., the Ministry of Love) didn't win as best building ever? It should have at least won an award for Most Hostile Looking.

And how about that new downtown high school that looks like a Japanese robot attacking the Cathedral across the freeway with a flamethrower?

And why didn't the Cathedral win an award for Best Secret Police Academy-looking building?

I can't imagine why LA didn't sweep these awards.

there's a better one now, have a look at Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia - architect Katsalidis


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