Curves in Architecture

When I first saw Frank Gehry’s silvery swirl of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao I realized that he had reinvented curves in architecture. 

The exterior of this architectural wonder with its metallic swoops and curves. This became known as the ‘Bilbao effect’, where a city changes its focus from the dying industrial mentality into becoming a culture destination.
Frank Gehry's architectural design for the Guggenheim modern art museum in Bilbao, SpainThe ‘Bilbao Effect’ spread first to other parts of Spain. At Elciego, a hotel/winery in Spain, Gehry’s signature metal curves appear, in tints ranging from green to gold to dark pink, inspired, he said, by the colour of the wine. 
Frank Gehry architecture in El Ciego, a hotel attached to a winery in La Rioja, SpainSpiral building at the Centro Niemeyer Art Gallery in Avilés, Spain, a cultural centre complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Now there are more cities around the world, trying to duplicate Bilbao’s success with culture plus spectacular architecture.  Spiral staircase at the Centro Niemeyer Art Gallery in Aviles, SpainArchitecture on the Singapore skyline, the Lotus Gallery and the Ship Hotel.Architecture in Singapore, the Lotus Gallery and the Ship HotelOne more modern building, the silvery Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, one of the few places open on a Monday! (Spending a week in Mexico City, including a Monday.)Silvery reflection of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico CityA relatively new Downtown Eastside Vancouver building, somewhat based on the older ‘flatiron’ buildings designed to fit triangular spaces.Downtown Van East BuildingBut curves in architecture aren’t new. From the plaza level there are many stairs you can climb up at the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City, started at the turn of the century but not finished until 1938. Stairs at the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico CitySpiral staircases have been around a long time, and always create magnificent curves such as this one in the Sonneveld House, built in 1933 in Rotterdam, Holland. Spiral Staircase in the Sonneveld House in Rotterdam, HollandIn the Royal Palace Complex in Mandalay, this tower stood out from the rest of the buildings, with a spiral staircase that wound its way up to the viewing platform. (Myanmar) 
the Tower at the Royal Palace in MandalayThe ancient astronomical garden in Jaipur has an almost futuristic feel to it. Built in the 1700s by a Mughal prince, it is a collection of large-scale astronomical observatories, instruments and sundials, used for both prediction of eclipses and monsoons as well as astrological events. Jaipur Astronomical GardenThe steeple of Our Saviour’s Church in Copenhagen has a spiral staircase winding its way all around the outside of it. 
Spiral steeple of a church in Copenhagen, DenmarkMore of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Interesting Architecture.

13 responses to “Curves in Architecture

  1. Wonderful post Elizabeth – love your focus on curves which are much more prevalent than I’d have thought. Always a fan of the Guggenheim design I must admit I wasn’t crazy about the pink version!

  2. Fabulous! Inspired architecture may seem frivolous, but they enrich society.
    Beautiful examples. You have such a good eye.

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