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Architecture as entertainment

Architecture as entertainment

Architects who push the boundaries of design or construction sometimes create buildings that are entertaining because they exceed the expectations of the public and the client and are aesthetically outstanding. Buildings such as Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, are of this type, becoming a tourist attraction as well as a significant international museum. Other apparently usable buildings are really follies, deliberately constructed for a decorative purpose and never intended to be practical.

On the other hand, sometimes architecture is entertainment, while pretending to be functional. The tourism industry, for example, creates or renovates buildings as "attractions" that have either never been used or can never be used for their ostensible purpose. They are instead re-purposed to entertain visitors often by simulating cultural experiences. Buildings, history and sacred spaces are thus made into commodities for purchase. Such intentional tourist attractions divorce buildings from the past so that "the difference between historical authenticity and contemporary entertainment venues/theme parks becomes hard to define". Examples include "the preservation of the Alcázar of Toledo, with its grim Civil War History, the conversion of slave dungeons into tourist attractions in Ghana, and the presentation of indigenous culture in Libya". The specially constructed buildings in amusement parks represent the park's theme and are usually neither authentic nor completely functional.

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