Design Prose

The Bilbao Effect

Posted in Uncategorized by designprose on November 6, 2013

Excerpt from a chapter, Building and Making of a Place from the book Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger,

A City is much more than an assemblage of streets, however, and it is worth stepping back a bit farther to say something about the city at this moment in history, not only as a work of design but in a broader way, as a figment of our culture. How much do cities mean in an age of cyberspace, and how much does sense of place- one thing we expect buildings will help to give- matter? For all that our culture today celebrates architecture, even wallows in it, with spectacular buildings by famous architects increasingly the norm in large, medium, and small cities around the world, I am not sure that we any longer have the ability to create in a city as strong a sense of place we once did. Paradoxically, the explosion of exciting architecture- what some people call ‘the Bilbao Effect’- has not done much to counter the trend for cities to become more and more like other cities, and the sense of any place as special, rare, even unique is fast disappearing.