"The Guggenheim Effect" Museums Tip by DanielF

Museums, Bilbao: 7 reviews and 10 photos

Favorite thing: Since the Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao in 1997, the city has lived a real hype, attracting the attention of tourism and architecture publications worldwide and, in many ways, putting it in the map of global destinations. This single building has taken the so-called spectacle architecture to its major expression: other buildings before had been elevated to the category of icons of the 20th century and even become recognizable visual and symbolic images of the cities in which they are located (the Opera House in Sydney, or the Sears Tower in Chicago, to name just two); but never before had an entire city been subdued and absorbed by a single building, at least from the point of view of the attention attracted at a global scale.

The museum was not only the biggest piece in the project that envisaged the reinvigoration and revamping of Bilbao, it was also the major propeller for that process: the revenues and the hype brought by the building have more than compensated the investment and have fuelled many other projects that have finished by transforming the entire city.

Since then, many other cities have tried to have their Guggenheim and obtain the same effects with notable pieces of spectacle architecture: they have sought the biggest, or the tallest, or the most emotionally moving, or the most outrageous. Many of them have indeed reached a big impact worldwide, but never to a scale that allowed for the transformation of an entire city. The Guggenheim effect is and will probably remain unique.

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 3, 2007
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