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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.




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From the time it was annexed to the Villa at the end of the 19th Century, what was once the parish of Abando became the location for the development the “Ensanche,” or extension, of the city, which crossed the Estuary from the old historic walled enclosure. The incipient bourgeoisie established the model for the occupation of new city lots and the buildings to be constructed on them.

The new typology of office buildings, sometimes in separate and sometimes in mixed-use structures, is added to the typology of residential buildings and takes on an important role in the architectural activity of the area. Furthermore, the appearance of rationalism, which was very popular in Bilbao, was adapted and assimilated to such an extent that one could speak of “Bilbao rationalism,” would fill the district by occupying vacant lots or substituting low density structures.

The Ensanche area is a compact urban weave with an extensive collection of buildings of great interest and well-ordered and harmonious city planning. The development of Abandoibarra, upon the freeing up of space previously occupied during the industrial era, is allowing for the integration with the Estuary and with it the historical centre of the city.



The church was erected in the 12th Century, probably on the site of an older chapel or church from the 9th Century -prior to the founding of the Villa- by Don Garci GalÌndez (Señor de Ayala y Salcedo) and his wife Dona Alberta Sánchez. The church was rebuilt in 1559 with three naves, vaults and tower.

The building was restored during the 19th Century because of the extension of the urban growth area of Bilbao (Ensanche) and sieges by Carlists. The expansion included the sacristy and portico, as well as a parsonage (The Bilbao-style mansion was built in 1866 at the corner of San Vicente and Ibañez de Bilbao Streets upon an arcade of columns, hiding the buttresses and the late Gothic entrance dating from the 13th to the 16th Centuries).

José María Basterra designed the tower, reusing materials from the old City Hall on Ribera Street in an agreement between the City and the Parish, upon the creation of the Albia Gardens. The church has been restored by architect Joseba Rementería.

iglesia de la Residencia


The Company of Jesus had maintained its connection with the Santos Juanes Church in the Santiago Plazuela in the Old Town throughout the 17th and part of the 18th Centuries. At the end of the 19th Century they decided to move into their new residence, with its own church, in the recently plotted extension of the urban area in Bilbao (Ensanche).

Architect José María Basterra drafted the plans for the residence and church upon the construction of Urquijo Boulevard in 1887. The residence was completed in 1888 and the church was finished years later.

The two original pinacles of the church towers were removed at the end of the 20th Century because of their bad state and fear that they could fall. The facade was cleaned at the same time. This has given the church a new urban perspective from the Gran VÌa and Urquijo Boulevard.

palacio chavarri


Following the trend of the wealthy classes of Bilbao, Víctor Chávarri, Marquess of Triano, chose a privileged location in the Ensanche area for his family residence. The palace was completed in 1894. It was designed by the Belgian architect Paul Hankar and expanded by Anastasio de Anduiza, who oversaw the construction. The Chávarri brothers were engineers and participated in the industrial and financial development of Biscay.

The building has a ground floor, three storeys and mansard roof, faces onto Federico Moyúa Plaza, and reaches towards Elcano Street and the Gran Vía.

Its dynamic style, with historicist and modern tone and Flemish-renaissance inspired, lends personality to this building inspired in the Zegers-Regnard Hotel built in Brussels by Paul Hankar in 1888.

The building has a distinctive personality created by the asymmetry of the facades which combine different coloured stones and an abundance of rough shapes on one hand , and variety and originality of the windows, balconies, glassed-balconies, sun-lit galleries and dormer windows, on the other.

Between 1943 and 1947, the two original residences were reformed to house the Civil Government in a project by Eugenio María Aguinaga.

estación de la concordia


The station was opened in 1902 and built according to the 1893 plans by the engineer ValentÌn Gorbeña, and the 1898 plans by the architect Severino Achúcarro who designed the facades, creating a great stage to be seen from the old part of Bilbao.

It is a singular example of a fruitful collaboration between engineering and architecture in the synthesis of a Berlin-style railway station, with its “island style” platform and pithead loading platforms.

The architectural contribution by Severino Achúcarro gives form and expression to the railway station, lending an urban and monumental personality.

The riveted metal structure in the lobby and throughout the building. A curved roof, crowned at one end with a rotunda, substitutes the canopies that during the age of steam engines covered the track beds.

The waiting area (infrequent in railway architecture) which forms a lookout over the old part of Bilbao is designed like a loggia with columns upon a stone wall and has offices at one end. The facade of the lobby contrasts with the waiting area in a perfectly integrated composition. It has three openings, the middle of which is crowned with a metal and glass fanlight (recalling the Viennese buildings of the time) and the two laterals symmetrically adorned in stone. The station has undergone several reforms.