The avant-garde architecture of Euskadi

Euskadi (the Basque Country) has always been an example of modernity and progress, proof of this are some of the buildings that adorn it. In each of the three provinces we find constructions that at that time were the best example of architecture.

Let’s start this route through the avant-garde architecture of Euskadi by Bizkaia. Bilbao, one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Spain belongs to Bizkaia. Not only does the Guggenheim Museum stand out as a clear example of this new architecture, but Bilbao’s own metro has become vanguard in itself. The entrances to the suburban are called Fosteritos because they are the work of the British architect Norman Foster. Between the years 1988 and 1995 he designed the stations and wanted to give the city a creative and modern space.

estaciones de bilbao
Un fosterino en Bilbao

The Fosteritos are glass canopies in the shape of organic tubes. With a sensation of movement, the inclined tunnels, formed by steel, glass and semi-transparent glass, introduce you to the interior of the seasons. The metro line is Y-shaped and runs along both sides of the city.

About 15 kilometers from Bilbao, in Ortuella, the old mining area of Bizkaia, we find the New House of Culture. The building aims to rescue the memory of this mining past in extinction. The rusty steel cover suggests that the whole set was always there.

arquitectura vanguardista de Euskadi
Nueva Casa de la Cultura de Ortuella

We also find examples of the avant-garde architecture of Euskadi in Gipuzkoa. In this province and a few kilometers from Oñati, following a tortuous road that climbs the mountain, is the Sanctuary of Arantzazu. It is considered the ‘sanctuary of contemporary art’ for the avant-garde architectural forms and its imposing facades, sculptures and doors.

pueblos escondidos en las montañas vascas
Santuario de Arantzazu

In the city of Donostia, on the left side of the port -as if it were a stranded ship- you can see the impressive modernist forms of the “Real Club Nautico de San Sebastián”, a world-pioneer rationalist building. On the opposite side is the San Sebastian Aquarium, one of the most important in Europe and a must-see.

Since 2001, the new headquarters of the Basque Country Higher Music Center (Musikene) has decorated the Plaza de Europa. It emphasizes the perfect integration of the building with the environment, in addition to taking advantage of all possible space and as much natural light as possible. We also find in Donostia the building of the Basque Culinary Center, whose shape is reminiscent of stacked dishes.

arquitectura vanguardista de Euskadi
Musikene en Donostia-San Sebastián

Finally, we go inside to discover the best avant-garde architecture in Euskadi. We arrive to Araba-Álava and in particular to the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Here are three churches of modern style. Between 1957 and 1960 the Church of Our Lady of the Coronation was built, designed by the Spanish architect, urban planner and painter Miguel Fisac . The project of this temple responds fundamentally to two basic points that worried the architect: the use of light and the location of the faithful in the church. The following is the Church of Santa María de los Angeles, the work of the architect Javier Carvajal, the materials are iron beams in honor of the Alava forges, the brick, the slate of the roof and the concrete, little used previously in religious buildings. And, finally, the Church of San Francisco by the architect Luis Peña Ganchegui.

arquitectura vanguardista de Euskadi
Edificio E80 en el Parque Miñano

Also, since 2011 the Miñano Technology Park (Álava) has the so-called E8 building, destined to the implantation of innovative companies with activities in emerging and cutting-edge sectors. Finally, another example of the best avant-garde architecture in Euskadi is the building of Caja Vital Kutxa. Its design aims to enhance the vital philosophy of Vitoria-Gasteiz. It was designed by Javier Mozas and Eduardo Aguirre. The plant simulates a chromosome and the facade the genetic code.

arquitectura vanguardista de Euskadi
Edificio de la Caja Vital Kutxabank

Text: Paloma Díaz Espiñeira

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