Has the “Bilbao Effect” been largely confined to Bilbao?

Jonathan Glancey’s recent thoughts on the new Turner gallery in Margate (Margate should resist the Bilbao effect) reminded me of an excellent article I read a few years ago in the New York Times Magazine examining the rise in futuristic architecture projects around the world. Glancey’s article also got me thinking. Where outside Bilbao has a single building been able to transform a whole city, in the way that the Guggenheim transformed Bilbao? The best answer I could come up with was Newcastle and the regenerative effects of the Baltic. But Newcastle was already booming before they rebuilt the Baltic and turned it into a very good art gallery.

Anyway, here’s the quote:

“Like any big-stakes, winning gamble, Bilbao’s good fortune has inspired other cities and institutions to take the plunge … This development is encapsulated by a remark that the director for the National Center for Contemporary Arts in Rome made a few years ago to Koolhaas, who had entered the competition (which Zara Hadid eventually won) to design its new museum. ”We need a building that does for Rome what the Guggenheim did for Bilbao,” Koolhaas was told.”

As the architect later remarked to me, ”That is a staggering statement, because Rome doesn’t need to be put on the map.”

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