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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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Begoña had its own identity as a parish up until the time it was annexed to the Villa during the expansion boom at the beginning of the 20th Century. From its vigil over the city, the church has been a silent witness to social conflicts and wars which over the years have created the need for continuous reconstruction and restoration.

This gothic church occupies the highest point, and below, along the opening Estuary (still river at this point), one finds what is considered to be the first industrial building of Biscay, now used as a school building. These two great buildings establish boundaries for the physical space of a district with craggy terrain.


The church has a basilica ground plan of three naves with six bays, aligned crossing and an important longitudinal design reaching the floor.

Construction began with a Gothic style that was diluted by successive interventions. The mannerist-style main entrance, with Castilian references by Gil de Hontañón, is a repetition of the design used in the San Antón Church. The choir has a classicist design.

The construction process during the 16th and first decades of the 17th Century (demolition of the old church, raising the naves, tower, choir…) involved the work of several designers and master stonemasons, including Martín de Garita whose plans were approved by the City to finish the project. Nevertheless, the finishing touches to the main work of the church were done by Martín Ibáñez de Zalbidea, who closed the chapel of the choir loft and finished the sacristy.

The basilica was officially opened in 1900 coinciding with the solemn act of consecration. Earlier, the final reconstruction of the church had begun in 1876, finishing with the new tower-campanile, designed by architect José María Basterra.



The strength of this work is based on its volumetric play and the contrast of its facades, including the central tower. What is really an expressionist style is masked by a rationalist dressing of great visual impact.

The difficulties in creating a style for such a complex variety of uses are increased by the reduced size of the lot and its steep grade. Ispizua -who had been member of the jury in the design competition for a school in the San Francisco neighbourhood- proposed a compact building of four storeys, creating a hierarchy on each of them from the centre to the sides that provokes a certain fragmentation of the different floors.

The housing blocks built around the school have partially enclosed the building, which has recovered its importance thanks to a recent rehabilitation. The building is included in the architectural catalogue of the Modern Movement DOCOMOMO.