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Contemporary Architecture in Spain: Bilbao Airport, Basque Country

On 19th November 2000 during the inauguration of La Paloma, the Bilbao International Airport, architect Santiago CALATRAVA announced that the new terminal was “a message of love to Baskland”.

White and very expressive, Bilbao International Airport is a gigantic three storey block of steel and glass with a sharp silhouette expressing the idea of flight and the leap that the metropolitan area had begun to take.

The steel and concrete structure , nicknamed La Paloma (the Dove) because of its resemblance to a giant bird about to take flight, is integrated into the hilly green landscape in the Txoriherri Valley in close proximity to Bilbao. The aluminium skin of the Central Terminal sweeps across the 140 meter long terminal entry, providing cover for multiple levels of arrival and departure.

The layout was designed to limit the impact of auxiliary buildings on the vista of the main building. An elegant four-story parking structure, with a skylit walkway leading to the Terminal Building, is tucked into a grassy embankment.

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