Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

The Guggenheim Bilbao marks a temporal point as much as a geographic one—more so than Richard Meier’s Getty Museum, which opened in the same year, or any of the works by Sverre Fehn, who won the Pritzker in 1997, Gehry’s museum embodies a moment where architecture moved from a local to a global condition. This is true of both the strategy of the kunsthalle-like space deployed into an undervalued urbanism with hopes of sparking renewal, and technique—early CATIA-generated forms soon to be a benchmark for expressive architecture. Looking back at this moment in time, I wouldn’t say that the Guggenheim was part of the zeitgeist, but rather it actually presaged 21st-century conditions as it fused technology and globalization.