Bilbao International Logo


Bilbao today is a prime example of urban restructuring, having transitioned from an industrial city to a city of services and culture.

Discover the urban evolution of Bilbao visually and intuitively by taking a historical look at the most relevant projects undertaken in the process.


In project

Bilbao's transformation has no start and end date, but rather is an ongoing process.

Learn about the projects that will become the new landmarks to consolidate Bilbao as a leading city in urban planning and architecture.


New constructions

For some time now, Bilbao has been unveiling significant urban and architectural novelties.

This section will provide full detail of recent endeavours which are already a part of the New Bilbao.


Heritage buildings

Bilbao has taken great pains to preserve its heritage as much as possible, making renovating and preserving Bilbao's historic buildings a key aspect to combining the new architecture with that of inspired artists of yesteryear.



Modern architecture has raised twenty-first century Bilbao off the ground. As great national and international architects -many of them recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize- left their mark in the form of modern works of art.The city's commitment to world-class architecture is self-evident and has been successful.




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo Bookmarks
  • Menéame
  • E-mail

Reasons for and elements of the transformation

The reason for the change

The plan for the urban regeneration of the capital city of Bizkaia, Bilbao, was not conceived as a mere decorative improvement. Bilbao’s economic activity underwent an imperative change, and this wich  led to an exponential transformation, notably altering the look and the feel of the city today.

In order to understand this, we must take a look at the history of the city. On 15th June 1300, Bilbao was granted a charter as a town. It remained a mediaeval metropolis until 1511 and with the founding of the Consulate of Bilbao, predecessor to the modern-day Chamber of Commerce of Bilbao, effectively turned the metropolis into a mercantile town providing Castile a corridor to the sea.

More than 300 years were to pass before Bilbao became an industrial city with the construction of the first blast furnace in 1850, signalling the arrival of the industrial revolution and shifting economic activity almost exclusively to the iron and steel industry and ship building. It was, in fact, this lack of diversification which would eventually result in dire consequences for Bilbao during the industrial crisis of 1975.

reasons for the change

Thus, faced with the alarming predicament of 30% unemployment, city authorities set about looking for novel formulae to stimulate business and promote job creation, as it had become painfully evident that this was no temporary problem, but rather a structural crisis of a deeper nature.

In urgent response to this do or die situation was born the Bilbao of service and cultural industry, metamorphosing into a cross-cultural city of business and tourism. Bilbao is today a post-industrial city where it is quite usual to see a crowd of tourists by the river bank near the Guggenheim Museum, on a boat motoring past the Euskalduna Conference Centre, walking past the Basque Health Service Building, designed by architect Juan COLL-BARREU or the new Miribilla Sports Centre.

Author of the video: Enrique Rey