Da qualche tempo va di moda il monumento attira-turisti, l’esempio più classico è il Guggenheim di Bilbao, che ormai svolge la funzione di vera calamita da visitatore. Graham Morrison si interroga su questa tendenza dell’architettura a creare forme uniche, impossibili, pur di fare colpo:

The true architectural icon is a building that is unmistakable, often provocative, and carries cultural signals far beyond its purpose. Obvious iconic landmarks include the Sydney opera house, the Pompidou centre, even the new Scottish parliament building - all of which initially met with disapproval. These modern icons simultaneously signal their function and their public importance. They convey the spirit of their age; they are both useful and memorable. But there are also less significant buildings that aspire to iconic status but do not always deserve the profile their sponsors demand. In this context, the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao has had a significant effect. I am not convinced it is a great work of architecture, although its public credentials are clear. Its significance as a building is less in its extraordinary shape and surface (which many now consider formulaic) than in the popularity of its formal abstraction.