Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bilbao Effect

"The BILBAO effect"
Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry… I remain surprised that I live in a time, where somewhere in the world, it looks like this.   Shelia Heti.

Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an architect.  Eventually, the idea of architecture was eliminated from the job search.  Figuring out how much concrete and steel would be necessary to keep a 30 story building from collapsing seemed cumbersome, to say the least.  And, calculus kicked my a$$!

Despite my change in career choices, I DO still love a great building. 

This month, DETAILS magazine features an article stating that "architecturally dazzling exhibition halls {museums} are turning out-of-the-way locales into must-visit vacation spots."    (Details, April 2012, page 44.)

And, that brings up a question.....

Why are some structures immediately recognizable????  Years ago, I read a comment:  "If a child can draw a simple 'stick figure' sketch of a building or monument, then it is destined for wide appeal."

Let's see if that theory works.

la Tour Eiffel by Gustave Eiffel. Paris, France
A classic example.... and the answer to our theoretical question would be... YES.   While the Eiffel Tower immediately symbolizes Paris and France, it IS, indeed, fairly simple to draw.   Oh, I love Paris... but I digress. 

Let's try that idea out on a few other examples. 

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor.  Chicago, Illinois
"Cloud Gate" affectionally know as The Bean.

Since its formal dedication in 2006 in Millenium Park, The Bean has become one of the most visited landmarks and sculpture instillations in Chicago.  And, it is certaily easy to draw.  

The Great Pyramids. Giza, Egypt
The beauty of these monuments is... self explanatory.

The Burj al Arab. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Burj al Arab, one of the world's most luxurious hotels, and, now... a symbol of Dubai.

As was the case with the Guggenheim in Bilbao, some destinations have worked to create a building that would create architectural buzz and, hopefully, improve tourism. In Dubai, they even put their architectural symbol on the license plates.  Guess that you've got to do something will all of that oil money in the desert.  And, once again... easy to sketch.

The Great Wall. China
Drawing of The Great Wall of China from Register's ART illustration series
 THE Great Wall of China
Originally, the Great Wall was built to protect the Chinese Empire from nomadic intruders. Today, it is one of the man made wonders of the world stretching nearly 4,000 miles. 

The Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge and one very tired, Joey.   

Like the Great Wall of China, the Golden Gate Bridge, wasn't created to symbolize a city.... folks just needed a bridge. And, that famous International Orange was used because it could be seen the most easily in the San Francisco fog.  Today, it is as iconic as the trolley cars, one of my favorite bridges, and can be drawn by a first grader. 

The Opera House by Jorn Utzon, Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House with the Harbor Bridge in the background

My absolute favorite building in the world!  Despite a dreadfully long plane ride from Los Angeles, 12 hours to be exact, Australia is amazing.  I fell in love at the first, "G'day mate," greeting and screamed when I saw the Opera House.  Dazzling!  And... look at that blue symbol.  Yes, it proves our theory, again. 

Cool theory, huh?

With all of this talk about great architecture, I need to take a trip... and step away from the computer. 


  1. Here in this world have you not been that you want to go? Impressed with all the places you have visited

  2. Oh, I haven't been to Dubai or China... just love the buildings.

  3. Awesome. You coould also have added some natural structures, too!!