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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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Awards and Acknowledgements

The regeneration efforts realised have been recognised by several prestigious organisations:

2004- The IX edition of the Biennial of Architecture of Venice awarded the special prize, Citta D’Aqua, to Bilbao Ría 2000 for the progress made on the River banks of Bilbao and Barakaldo. Bilbao’s project was presented in Italy under the title “Industrial Banks – Urban Banks.” The jury gave special value to “the appropriate design of progress and appreciation of the river banks, as well as the correct definition and fulfilment of objectives allowing the former industrial areas to be rezoned.”

2004- ECTP – European Council of Town Planners awarded Bilbao Ría 2000 for the regeneration of Abandoibarra, Ametzola and the Southern Railway Bypass.

2005- Bilbao City Hall was awarded the Prize for Culture of Management from the Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani in recognition of the efforts to promote strategies for culture of management in the transformation of the city.

2005- International Society of City Regional Planners (ISOCARP) presented Bilbao Ría 2000 with the Award for Excellence for “driving the transformation process of Metropolitan Bilbao.”

Motivated by all these awards and, above all, the exemplary transformation of Bilbao, the City was extended an invitation to participate in the World Expo 2010 Shanghai. Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona were the only Spanish cities invited to the exhibition.

Finally, the latest award that Bilbao received was during the Shanghai Expo. The I Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of cities, was awarded in recognition of the transformation process of Bilbao. The Honourable Mayor Iñaki AZKUNA, Mayor of Bilbao graciously accepted the award in June 2010 in Singapore at the opening ceremony of the World City Summit 2010.

Premio Lee Kuan Yew

Finally, on January of 2013, Iñaki Azkuna, Mayor of Bilbao, has been awarded the 2012 World Mayor Prize. It has been said that Bilbao’s transformation from a declining industrial city in Spain’s northern Basque Province to an international centre for tourism and the arts has been sparked by two events: the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997 and the election of Iñaki Azkuna as mayor two years later.

Premios destacados:

2002 – Cities Awards for Ecellence (Fundación Metrópoli)

2003 – European Healthy City Award (Pfizer Foundation)

2004 – Città d’Acqua (La Biennale di Venezia)

2004 – European Urban and Regional Planning Awards (European Council of Town Planners)

2005 – Premio a la Cultura de Gestión (L’Asociazione Italiana del Consiglio del Comuni e delle Regioni d’Europa)

2006 – ISoCaRP Awards for Excellence (Internactional Society of City and Regional Planners-ISOCARP)

2006 – European Urban and Regional Planning Awards (European Council of Town Planners)

2006 – European Awards for Business Creativity (Unión Europea)

2010 – Exposición Universal de Shanghai

2010 – I Premio Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize

2011 – Livcom Awards (The International Awards for Liveable Communities) – Category: “Enhancement of the Landscape”

2011 – EPSA – European Public Sector Award 2011. First prize went to the project “Political Management based on Economic Stringency and Strategic Budgets”, submitted by the Bilbao city

2012 – Kirolaren Europako Hiria –  Ciudad Europea del Deporte – European Capital of Sport

2012 – Bilbao Arena – Building of the Year 2011 – Sports Architecture – Arch Daily Awards

2013 – 2012 World Mayor Prize, Iñaki Azkuna

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