THE STORY: The Bilbao Effect became a popular term after Frank Gehry built the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, transforming the poor industrial port city of Bilbao into a must-see tourist destination. Its success spurred other cities into hiring famous architects and giving them carte blanche to design even more spectacular buildings in hopes that the formula could be repeated.
In Mr. Safdie's play THE BILBAO EFFECT-the second in a trilogy focusing on contemporary architecture-a world famous architect faces censure by the American Institute of Architects, following accusations that his urban redevelopment project for Staten Island has led to a woman's suicide. The play explores whether architecture has become more of an art than a profession, and at what point the ethics of one field violate the principles of the other.
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