Several members of the RED club (Joseph Martinez, Arianna Sacks, Matt Elley, Ignacio Correa, Perry Lubin, Lester Yu, Helen Jung, Rodger Du, Susan Cutler, and Shilpa Ahuja) attended a project management course over Spring Break in Bilbao. The class focused on the conceptualization, design, engineering, and construction of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. We met at the office of IDOM, the executive architect, project manager, and construction manager of the museum. The senior project manager and executive architect of record were both present for our discussions, as well as Professor Spiro Pollalis, who facilitated the course.
What an amazing trip it was! While the majority of the class consisted of late nights working on presentations for the following day, we got to see how this project has truly catalyzed development in Bilbao, and hear some fantastic stories about how all of the stakeholders came together (Frank Gehry, IDOM, and the Consortium of the Guggenheim Museum) to create such a unique project.
There were some great takeaways on how to work with a internationally recognized architect, a public client, and manage multiple general contractors simultaneously. Another great lesson was the way that good architecture can create real estate value. The level of private investment around the museum is amazing, with a new shopping mall, office tower, and residential spaces coming online.
On the last day, we got to spend some time visiting some other famous works of modern architecture in the region: The Marques de Riscal Winery by Gehry, the Ysios Winery by Santiago Calatrava, and the López de Heredia Winery by Zaha Hadid. Notice anything in common with the three projects mentioned? To say it was a great time is an understatement. Our class really bonded over the course of this trip. This class goes to show that you can enjoy yourselves while learning a lot at the same time!