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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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Guggenheim Bilbao Museum: the emblem

mapa de situacion

The City Planning Regulations drawn up by Bilbao in 1989 foresaw the suitability of building a museum in the Abandoibarra area with the aim of it being a cultural emblem for the city.

Beginning in 1991, preparations led to the Basque authorities contacting the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to propose that they participate in the revitalisation of the city. The non-profit artistic foundation agreed to the suggestion as it was their intention to establish a global network of museums. Bilbao would be one of the designated locations.

The architect was to be internationally renowned: Frank O. GEHRY, who with a bird’s eye view, from the top of Mt. Artxanda, pointed to the future the site of the art museum: Abandoibarra, embracing La Salve bridge. Not only did Mr GEHRY create a museum, he also brought to Bilbao the embryo of architectural revolution as a shining example around the world.

gehry y el guggenheim

In February 1993, Mr GEHRY presented his schematic design for the museum and the foundation stone ceremony was held. In October 1994 building work began and, finally, on 19th October 1997 the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened its doors.

Although its importance transcends purely architectural value, it must be said that the building is of an exquisite and innovative construction. Occupying 32,500 sq. m. of land, the building is on par with the Ibaizabal-Nervion River, or rather, 16 m. below sea level and the sea level of the City, with the colossal La Salve bridge crossing over one end of the building.

The building is composed of a number of interconnected masses, some orthagonal and covered with limestone, while others are curved, twisted and covered with a metallic skin of titanium. These masses then combine with the glass walls contributing the building’s transparency, which all so unmistakably identifies the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Guggenheim Bilbao. Varias

An interesting side note is that owing to their mathematical complexity, the twisting curvatures of the stone, glass and titanium were designed with the assistance of a computer programme called Catia, which is also used in jet plane design.

Today, Bilbao is no longer home to the Guggenheim, but rather the Guggenheim is at home in Bilbao. The city has got over the fame of the Museum by now and has appropriated all that added value: Bilbao has come of age.

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