By Cathleen McGuigan
During the boom years after Frank Gehry's hugely successful Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened in 1997, other cities, institutions, and real-estate developers all over the world increasingly used spectacular architecture to try to attract international attention. But now that the economy has cooled and construction has slowed, at least in the U.S. and Europe, everyone's wondering, what's next? What will follow the so-called Bilbao Effect? What will architects come up with instead of all those cutting-edge iconic buildings that so defined the new millennium? Architecture is likely to be simpler and quieter, with innovation geared toward sustainability and technology rather than can-you-top-this design. Architects are also turning more of their attention toward urban design, developing social and civic projects, and creating public spaces. Buildings are likely to become less about twist and shout, and more about function and simplicity. Pointlessly pointy architecture? That is so over.