For Mark Linder, an associate professor at Syracuse University's School of Architecture, connecting the "Graves phenomenon" to Bilbao or a renewed interest in the city as an escape from the banality of the suburbs is to miss the power and the promise offered by Gehry. "I think there's a growing visual sophistication among the under-40 demographic who want to buy well-designed things, whether that's cars or computers or toasters," he says.

But Linder makes a big distinction between the yen for well-designed products and the impact of signature buildings like Bilbao. The latter can even be an escape from existential angst, an inspiration.

"With someone like Gehry or Norman Foster or Herzog and de Meuron, it's a deeper commitment to modernism and therefore to the future; and the commitment is to a belief that change can be good, that change can be fundamental, and that the future will be different and better," Linder says. "For me, Bilbao represents something really quite fantastic as far as the future goes. When you approach that building and you're walking down the street in what was once a pretty gritty, industrial, mid-20th-century city, you can't help but be projected into a fantasy about how things could be very different."



red nose studios' clients include business week, the new york times, mtv, family fun, maxim, fast company, red herring, how, village voice, momentum inc., and nickelodeon.
building it, in hopes they will come
archetours founder gail cornell (archetours.com) sums up the hot architectural pilgrimages in one expression - "the three bs: bilbao, barcelona, and berlin." unlike bilbao, berlin and barcelona offer quality and quantity. berlin offers norman foster's rebuilding of the german parliament, frank gehry's dz bank, and the striking new jewish museum by daniel libeskind. in barcelona, you'll find work by gehry, santiago calatrava, and richard meier, to name just a few. but not all design destinations require a passport. here, for your consideration, are places both home and abroad to see architecture that will make you reconsider tomorrow.