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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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The stand of Bilbao in Shanghai World Expo 2010, Bilbao Guggenheim ++

Bilbao, a World Example of Sustainable Urban Development

Selected from among 113 competing cities from around the world, Bilbao was present at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai as an example of sustainable urban development, as well as closely tied to the new economy of creation and Knowledge.

The city’s display told the story of the transformation by means of interplay of art and multimedia. Sculpture, paintings and images were just some of the elements chosen to show the city’s essence. Bilbao’s transformation from an industrial city to one of services and of Knowledge was thus revealed to the world.

Entitled “Bilbao Guggenheim ++”, Bilbao’s stand at Expo 2010 Shanghai explained the profound transformation of the city realised over a period of 25 years. The stand articulated how an environmentally deteriorated city, with an industrial production system in crisis, has transformed into one of the most attractive cities in Europe today.

Bilbao’s pavilion was like a closed box, with light playing a major role. It was projected to be an artistic representation of the revolutions that have marked the city’s history: the Industrial Revolution, the Urban Revolution and the Revolution of Knowledge. Receiving a large number of visitors, Bilbao’s stand was located in the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA), next to that of Paris and Osaka.

1. BILBO MMX. The Art of Jesus Mari LAZKANO

A painting by the prestigious Basque painter Jesus Mari LAZKANO welcomed visitors to the stand. The large work, “Bilbo MMX”, was like an open window on the city, depicting the main architectural landmark constructions from the past, present and future along the River, a true artery, which with its life-blood both feeds and unites the successive changes in the city.

Bilbo MMX. Jesus Mari Lazkano

2. A sculpture of light as a symbol

By artist Esther PIZARRO, the central component of the pavilion was a huge sculpture of light and matter, an artistic rendering of the urban structure of Bilbao. Displaying the evolution of the city, it is a living interpretation of Bilbao’s architectural highlights. Measuring thirteen metres in length and six metres in width, this work provided visitors insight to both the changes in Bilbao.

As with a living organism, the visual aspect of this artistic expression varied according to the changes in light, focusing on the areas of the city’s metamorphosis. The materials used related the history of Bilbao’s three revolutions. First, the Industrial Revolution, with the use of metal, which takes us back to the industrial period. Second, the Urban Revolution, the city’s organic and changeable personality is expressed with luminous volumes of wax-covered methacrylato. Third and last, the Revolution of Knowledge, symbolised by a complex lighting system continuously altering the sculpture’s aspect, combined with projections on the walls of the pavilion.

3. The City and her People in Pictures

Spectacular images take one on a multimedia tour of the city and surrounds. With the walls turned into giant screens, projections could be viewed which connected the cities of Bilbao and Shanghai in real time.