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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.

Bilbao Airport - Contemporary Architecture in Spain: Bilbao Airport, Basque Country
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The new headquarters of Bilbao City Hall in San Agustín, is situated in front of the back façade of the Neobaroque Palace that holds the present Town Hall, built in 1892 by Joaquin Rucoba Architect. The recent building contains the technical offices of the Town Hall. The historic building will keep the representative image of the city corporation and the headquarters of the Mayor.

The treatment applied to the residual public spaces has the objective to fluff the urban fabric and increase the available area to generate a little plaza becoming an urban antechamber or lobby to access the Town Hall Headquarters. The fragmentation of the whole in two volumes has the will to integrate the building into the city plot, adapt the scale and the heights to the place and enhance the traditional pedestrian way across the parcel.

Inside the building the aim has been to create flexible terms of use in the different floors, which are able to generate different types of offices, from the closed one to open work areas or common elements to relax. From the point of view of the Environmental improvement it has been adopted different strategies and actions to increase the quality of the work area and minimize energy consumptions and CO2 emissions.

Bilbao City Hall by IMB Arquitectos - Modern Architecture in Spain: Bilbao City Hall by IMB Arquitectos

Bilbao City Hall by IMB Arquitectos2 - Modern Architecture in Spain: Bilbao City Hall by IMB Arquitectos

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The lovely Bilbao Arena lies on ancient iron mines, close to the old part of the town in Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain). It offers a sports center, a restaurant, a court that can be used by locals and players too and more. The Bilbao Arena is split into two: at the very top of the structure it encloses so it shuns away the noise coming from Bilbao Basket while the bottom of the building is occupied by the sports center.

The design of the entire project is interesting since the Bilbao Arena is meant to look as a tree. Its façade has a metal structure with painted steel sheets that hide the metal components that are found in the arena. The façade is permeable and the corridors don`t require air conditioning or ventilation and the design of the building allows a clear exit if a fire bursts out.

The limestone in the area inspired the designers to paint the sports center in a similar colour and the shape of the sports center looks just like a rock. The three spaces of this center communicate between them in cascade and they also offer access to the swimming pool, gym and parking zone.

Bilbao Arena 2 - Contemporary Architecture in Spain: Bilbao Arena
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The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, built by Ferrovial, and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao5 - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

It is built alongside the Nervion River , which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Atlantic Coast. The Guggenheim is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation . The museum features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists.

One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture , the building has been hailed as a "signal moment in the architectural culture", because it represents "one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something." The museum was the building most frequently named as one of the most important works completed since 1980 in the 2010 World Architecture Survey among architecture experts.

Eleven thousand square meters of exhibition space are distributed over nineteen galleries, ten of which follow a classic orthogonal plan that can be identified from the exterior by their stone finishes. The remaining nine galleries are irregularly shaped and can be identified from the outside by their swirling organic forms and titanium cladding. The largest gallery, measures 30 meters wide and 130 meters long.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao8 - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao9 - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao10 - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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 Bilbao is home for one the great architectural works of Santiago Calatrava

calatrava head - Zubizuri Bridge in Bilbao by Santiago CalatravaThis graceful curving glass-decked footbridge, called as "Puente del Campo Volantin" or "Zubizuri", is one of the greatest designs of Santiago Calatrava. A short walk along the river from the Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry.

"As in many other designs by Santiago Calatrava, an apparent disequilibrium or rather a sense of frozen movement is heightened by the lightness of the structure".- said Philip Jodidio.

Calatrava's early career was largely dedicated to bridges and train stations, with designs that elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona in the heart of the 1992 Olympics site, as well as the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto, Canada, were important works and turning points in his career, leading to a wide range of commissions.

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