The impressive new V&A Dundee could have been designed by Frank Gehry


Source: FCG / Shutterstock

The Guggenheim museum Bilbao

Guggenheim on the Tay

There’s been a lot of talk about how the impressive new V&A Dundee, which we review this week, is seeking to emulate the regenerating effect that the Guggenheim museum had on Bilbao in Spain.

The idea of a transformed Dundee waterfront has been a long time in the making and originally some took the idea of creating a new Guggenheim much more literally.

In 2003, Frank Gehry, the world-famous architect who designed Bilbao’s Guggenheim, visited the city to open Maggie’s Centre, a counselling facility for cancer sufferers.

He was also bestowed with an honorary degree from Dundee University. 

At the ceremony, Charles McKean, professor of architectural history at the University of Dundee, suggested the city called for an “appointment for Dr Gehry to advise on the future of the riverfront”. “Dundee has been without a chief architect for a decade. Like Bilbao, it’s contemplating major change on its riverfront,” he said.

No partnership ever came to fruition – sought-after doesn’t begin to describe Gehry’s work, and his practice completed nine projects between 2003 and 2005.

What would the Dundee waterfront look like now if he had said yes?

To read the article from October 2003, click here.