He discussed plans for several sites worldwide to serve as new venues for portions of the widely diverse Guggenheim collection. "We are looking to expand the definition of a museum…we see ourselves as reaching a wider audience. A museum’s focus is not to be narrow, but to offer a wide variety. To pretend that the larger world does not exist is not realistic. Our buildings are about amazement.



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Held last week in Beverly Hills, Calif., the conference focused on trends in destination real estate, a type of development that includes a mix of entertainment (possibly a sports arena or museum), icon restaurants and retail uses. Although the concept of destination real estate is only a few years old, it is already undergoing a significant shift in design, following the recent overbuilding of movie theatres; consolidation and retrenchment of major retailers; and the collapse of several themed restaurant chains.

Conference participants concurred that limited use, stand-alone projects that do not blend in or enhance the surrounding community are becoming obsolete, and are being replaced by multiple-use developments that contribute to the appeal of the entire community.

Conference keynote speaker Thomas Krens, director of Guggenheim Museums Worldwide, New York City, discussed the increasing use of museums as cultural centers, a trend that represents the merging of high culture and popular culture. "The current form of art museums may be obsolete. We recognize where our audience comes from, and this puts us in the same room with the entertainment industry," Krens said.