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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Bilboa Effect

Interesting happenings at the future site of the Museum of Tolerance - no, not the human rights museum, the Museum of Tolerance. It's a part of the Simon Wisenthal "chain" of tolerance institutions which includes the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and the New York Tolerance Centre.

This new project is set for Jerusalem and first put shovels in the ground in 2003. Since then, it has run into major headaches and court challenges. Some of the issues: building the site on what ended up being a burial gorund; a ballooning budget; and conflict over the proposed design. Frank Gehry, who was to be the lead architect, recently resigned from the project.
From Architectural Record:

"At the 2003 groundbreaking ... the museum was seen as promising a “Bilbao effect” that would revive the moribund city center and attract tourism. But human rights groups, scholars, and others continue to oppose the project".

Back in 2002 Forbes wrote about the Bilboa effect and that, at the time, attendance was weathering the post 9/11 scare. It concluded, though, that the Guggenheim was a unique institution:


Despite attempts to emulate the "Bilbao effect" elsewhere in the world, very few new museums or galleries outside capital cities have succeeded in getting so many visitors. Gehry's architecture and the Guggenheim's art have proved an irresistible combination.

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