Skip to content

The Bilbao/Niteroy/Saadiyat Effect

As technological change drives globalisation..
As post-industrial ways of living spread..
As the balance of power shifts towards developing countries..
Creativity emerges as a key factor in development..
Cultural trade grows rapidly..
Creating stark new challenges for business and the arts.

The use of iconic architecture to change perception of a city is now known as the Bilbao effect, after Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim drew world attention to this forgotten post-industrial Basque city.

But the first modern architect to use the bold architectural statement to boost city image was probably Oscar Niemeyer, who built a series of iconic structures across Brazil. This one is in Niteroy, near Rio de Janeiro.

Now Abu Dhabi is building a whole new city on the same principle. Due for completion in 2020, the core of Saadiyat (Island of Happiness) is an ‘up-scale cultural district’ that includes a new Guggenheim, a new Louvre, a performing arts centre by Zaha Hadid and a campus of New York University.


< Previous Home Next >