Buildings Alone Do Not Constitute Regeneration

The "Bilbao Effect" is the apotheosis of the notion that a struggling post industrial city can be regenerated through set-piece art and design. But Frank Gehry, the architect of the Guggenheim, suspects the gallery was only part of a larger gestalt.
June 23, 2010, 12pm PDT | George Haugh
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Bibao's "transformation shows that architecture can bring about radical change, though rarely through a single structure and more often through a considered, long-term strategy," according to Edwin Heathcote. He sums up the other architectural works that drew growth out of the city once again. The Foster designed metro and Calatrava footbridge created mobility, while the exhibition center attracted capital.

The specificity of iconic works of 'starchitecture,' can be as much a hindrance as an aid to regeneration. Heathcote reminds us that the most successful recent architecture in London and Berlin was the "revivifcation" of a power station as the Tate Modern, the Reichstag extension and the Neues Museum. They worked because they worked with the desirable and durable historic fabrics of those cities.

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Published on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Financial Times
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