The Circulation of News and Images: Star Architecture and Its Media Effects

  • Nadia Alaily-MattarEmail author
  • Alain Thierstein


Based on the idea that star architecture projects cannot be read at ground level only, instead, the media is their primary site of reading as Foster (2008) has argued of Pop architecture, this chapter reads star architecture projects through the media. The “Bilbao effect” idea has supported the circulation of the unproven assumption that a star architecture project can disrupt or transform the image of a city in the media. Making use of case studies of three public cultural facilities commissioned to star architects and put into use in three medium-sized cities in Europe in the past 10 years, this chapter investigates the extent to which a transformation of exposure in the print media has accompanied the development of star architecture projects in their respective cities. Findings of quantitative research of selected international and national newspapers and media platforms are presented. This chapter concludes that despite possible increase in the inauguration year, star architecture can have quite short-lived quantitative media effects.


Media Star architecture Bilbao effect Image City marketing 



Figures 7.4, 7.7, 7.8, and 7.9 have appeared in the Alaily-Mattar N, Büren N and Thierstein A. (2019) Transforming the media exposure of a city through star architecture projects? disP – The Planning Review 55(2):36–48.

Nicolas Büren conducted the quantitative media analyses. He was funded as a research assistant by the DFG project “star architecture and its role in re-positioning small and medium sized cities”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban DevelopmentTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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