SOM in the Press

The Guggenheim Bilbao's Impact on Chicago and the World Still Resonates

Image © SOM

Source: Chicago Tribune

Twenty years ago this month, Frank Gehry’s masterful Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, fired an architectural shot heard ’round the world. 

Its revolutionary, shimmering mass of titanium catapulted Gehry to global stardom and spawned scores of imitators who duplicate the much-hyped “Bilbao effect,” whose starry-eyed adherents claimed that an eye-grabbing building could single-handedly resurrect a dying industrial city.

Largely forgotten, though, is the way structural engineers from the big Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) helped create Gehry’s tour de force and the impact, in turn, that the Guggenheim Bilbao had on the city’s greatest design triumph of the early 21st century — Millennium Park.

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