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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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At the turn of the 20th Century, and due to its relative distance from the city centre, this area was set aside for a group of constructions which for their special circumstances were deemed inopportune for the existing urban area. Hospitals and disinfection centres, hazardous material depots, and slaughterhouses would be located outside the city. Large buildings of specialized utility were to be located in the Basurto-Zorrotza area.

The connection between industrial activity and the Estuary can be appreciated in some unique architectural pieces located on the wharf in Zorrotza. The trend towards large constructions and additions was maintained throughout the 20th Century. These have been torn down recently to allow for new urban planning proposals including university and sports facilities.



A strong and compact building by Orbegozo and a design of separate pavilions surrounded by gardens by Enrique de Epalza architect. The new decentralized plan introduces a model already in use in Europe throughout the 19th Century which broke with the neo-classical concepts of hierarchical organisation.

The pavilions are distributed symmetrically upon a central axis. Each side has independent pavilions separately housing each of the different medical specialties. Administrative offices are located in a front entrance building. It is without a doubt a pioneer urban experiment.

As for the architectonic aspects, Epalza gave the work a popular and domestic style with sloped and coloured roofs and wide eaves. The use of ceramic materials such as brick or mosaic tiles and the facade treatments lend an almost neo-Mudéjar style which takes a few steps towards modernism.



In the School of Engineering project, which marked a turning point in his professional career, he was faced with a complex piece of land and great possibilities. Far removed from the usual custom of a compact building in use until then in school architecture, he applied a spatial concept to this design.

In his earlier projects Jesús Rafael Basterrechea had utilized varied formulas, including historicist concepts, even though he had been trained in functionalist and rationalist theories of the schools of Barcelona or Madrid.

The complex is comprised of differentiated structures, with the flagship building, the entrance, to the North. Two side wings with lecture rooms and laboratories create a South-facing open central courtyard and meet in a main stairway. The two wings are connected by a glassed breezeway and an assembly hall is located between them.