Frank Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim museum has three-dimensional titanium panelling. More interesting in a way, as this photograph indicates, is the underlying structure. I quite like the photograph because it's a quite crude representation of something which is quite sophisticated. The structural engineer was som, and the steel detailers, fabricators and erectors were urssa, S Coop and Vitoria-Gasteiz of Spain.
So why did I choose Bilbao stripped bare? My favourite painting is a Rauschenberg called Erased de Kooning. The story is that de Kooning once gave Rauschenberg a pencil drawing. After a while he decided to erase it and exhibited it as one of his own works but under this title. So if you think of that and of the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, between the two is a suggestion that you can create by removal. These tactics, translated into urban planning, would be not to fill every site, but to remove some.
So, bearing in mind that old Archigram notion that most buildings are actually more interesting when they are being built rather than when they are complete, and combining that with the idea of erasure creating an intentional absence rather than just an absence, you could recapture the importance of the disappeared steel in the building.
It's somewhat like that 1979 Michael Asher exhibition at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in which, along the lines of Don Judd or Carl Andre returning art back to the original idea, Asher removed a selection of the metal cladding of the new building, exposing the innards of the building skin and exhibiting the panels in the manner of, say, Andre. Panels rather than bricks.
So, at Bilbao, where you have this strange armadillo of a building it's not actually an exoskeleton. The real interest occurs when you reveal the authentic steel structure.