The term "Bilbao effect" is now common in the architecture world, but it's relatively recent: it dates from the construction of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the theory that starchitecture can give cities a new tourism allure. Urban planners worldwide still look to Bilbao as a model for bringing culture, tourists, and eventually cash to their cities—but it's unclear whether the Bilbao effect has had the same impact on other cities. In which case: why not just visit Bilbao? Below, we've mapped sites in and within driving distance of the city designed by big-name architects (there's also plenty of less-big-name architecture worth seeing around the city).Read More
Mapping Spanish Starchitecture After the Bilbao Effect
1. Ysios Winery
Architect Santiago Calatrava's signature waves adorn the Ysios winery in Rioja, part of a trend toward high-design wineries. From afar, the roof looks almost pixelated; up close, the connection to the nearby mountains that inspired the design is clearer.
2. Hotel Marquis de Riscal
Frank Gehry designed this hotel, which opened in 2006 in the Rioja region. The design is meant to mimic the look of a wine bottle.
3. Guggenheim Bilbao
Frank Gehry's famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in 1997 and is credited with reviving the entire city. Enough people came to Bilbao to see the museum that the city recouped the entire cost of building it within three years.
4. Zubiarte Shopping Centre
A short walk from Gehry's Guggenheim is this unassuming shopping center, designed by Robert A.M. Stern.
5. Iberdrola Tower
Designed by architect César Pelli, the Iberdrola Tower sits near the Guggenheim Bilbao and opened in 2012.
6. Azkuna Zentroa/Alhóndiga Bilbao
Once a wine warehouse, this building was redesigned by Philippe Starck. It now consists of three buildings with different themes, and is known for its column-heavy atrium.
7. Bilbao Airport
The Bilbao Airport was designed by Santiago Calatrava.
8. Bilbao Metro
After years of delays in the plans for a Bilbao Metro, Norman Foster won a competition to design the system in 1988. His stations are made of steel, glass, and concrete.