Why It’s Cool: The first glimpse of Guggenheim Bilbao’s rippling titanium walls in 1997 was a game-changer. Never again would paintings be displayed in humdrum hallways. Indeed, museums from Denver to Davenport, Iowa, have tried to whip up a “Bilbao effect” so their own retooled buildings might become instant landmarks. Bilbao also spawned the term “star-chitect,” as Gehry became an overnight object of hero worship. Ever since, developers of condos, offices and power plants have rushed to hire star-chitects, so their high-wattage imprimatur could sell products.
How to Visit: Open Tuesday to Sunday; tickets are $10.