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Bilbao calling

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While The Architectural Review embraced European Modernism at a well-attended conference at the RIBA in London, an international event with a rather different flavour took place in the Bilbao Guggenheim. Arata Isozaki, Jean Nouvel and Wolf Prix discussed the place of the Guggenheim and its architect, Frank Gehry, in the context of international architecture and indeed their own work. A full house of Spanish architects heard simultaneous translations as French, Spanish, German and English were used, under the chairmanship of former AJ editor Paul Finch. All present were fans, at least to some extent, of the Gehry building. What they had learned from it (and him) differed.

For Wolf Prix the experience of taking part in the design competition 10 years ago had left him with one very clear message:

when you do a model for a competition, make sure yours is bigger than anyone else's. It turned out that Gehry's attempt to make him give up smoking had been only partially successful: he graduated from cigarettes to very expensive cigars.

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