Renovating older buildings
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Considerable effort has been spent on therecovery of some of the city's historicbuildings aimed at preserving their mostnoteworthy features. Bilbao remains proudof its heritage whilst looking to the future.
RENOVATING BILBAO'SOLDER BUILDINGS
Ricardo BASTIDA hit a milestone in 1905 whenhe successfully combined industrial architecturewith an elegant design for a building in Ensanchedistrict. A hundred years later, architect PhillipeSTARK converted the old wine warehouse intoa cultural and leisure centre.
Inaugurated in 2010, the complex consistsof three buildings and two semi-basementshousing services such as: an exhibition hall,multiplex cinemas, and an innovativemultimedia library. The roof hides theswimming pool area with a diaphanousglazed floor and solarium. There is also anunderground car park for 900 cars, alongwith specialised retailers on the premises.
Today's Alhndiga is radically different from the original warehouseof a century ago, although the faade has been left intact inevery detail to everyone's delight.
Another of the striking features surprising visitors to the newbuilding is the columns in the spectacular central atrium of thebuilding, depicting various cultures and historical milestones.The work of prestigious Italian scenographer Lorenzo BARALDI,who employs a diverse variety of materials such as: marble,bronze, wood, steel, glazed terracotta, cement and/or Milkstone.Measuring three metres high with diameters ranging from 1.5to 1.7 m., each column can weigh anywhere from 700 kg for thesteel columns, to 7,000 kg the marble columns.
The large crowds of people attracted to the facilities is undoubtedlythe greatest mark of success of this highly functional work of art.
Arteria CamposEliseos Theatre
The Campos Theatre in BertendonaStreet was inaugurated in 1902 as partof the expansion of the Bilbao Ensanche.The original project was signed by theBilbao architect, Alfredo ACEBAL, whilethe modernist faade was designed bythe French-Basque decorator JeanBaptiste DARROQUY.
The theatre was re-inaugurated in 2010after it was completely revamped, allthe while being mindful of the building'simportance and prestige in Bilbao.Functional requirements and complianceto existing legislation meant increasingthe building mass, accomplished byadding extra stories, excavating abasement and by annexing the groundfloor of the building next door.
The most relevant feature of thebuilding is the main faade, decoratedwith naturist images, earning thetheatre its nickname of bombonera,the Chocolate Box, along with the largehorseshoe arch over the main doors.
Inside one sees that Horseshoe themeis continued in the main hall itself,decorated in French Art Nouveau,while highlighting the ceiling and theornamentation of the metallic beamsand columns, supported by six pillarsin a palm tree shape.
The main hall's new design is intendedto make it a multi-purpose space forall types of events. The mechanicalsystems combining mobile platformsand retractable seats enable the stallsand stage to be arranged as requiredby the event in question.
Originally a public wash house, this modernist style buildingwas designed by architect Ricardo BASTIDA in 1905.
Following its recent remodelling, it was converted into BilbaoDistrict 2 Civic Centre, meeting public demand for localesand services. The renovation included restoration of the twooriginal floors, raising the building by another floor, a glazedmass, thereby increasing total surface area to 1,627 m2.
Museum of Archaeology
Located in Unamuno Square in the heart ofOld Bilbao-Casco Viejo, this building datesto 1895, and was used as a train station forthe Bilbao-Lezama railway line. Known asthe Railway of the dead, it was used totransport the earthly remains of the deceasedto the Bilbao Municipal Cemetery, locatedin Derio, until the 1920s.
The building underwent expansion due tothe demands of heavy passenger traffic.Although the station closed its doors topassengers in 1969, it was reopened in 1986with the terminal operating until 1994.
Today modern laboratoriesco-exist side by side with therestored machinery thatmilled corn throughout the20th century.
Declared a Monument ofCultural Interest by theBasque Government in2005, guided tours areregularly conducted althoughit was not designed as amuseum.
The brightly coloured paintof the old machinery makesit stand out while surroundedby a complex system ofpipes which the flour used toflow through.
Designed by architect RafaelFONTAN, the Coliseo Albia Buildingwas for decades the hall with thelargest seating capacity in Bilbao. In1916 it was erected and inauguratedwith the Verdi opera Otello. Thebuilding which was the Bilbao Operacentre and theatre for decades willnow become the new Gran CasinoBilbao. Furthermore, the premises willhouse a 4 star hotel occupying thestoreys above the gaming hall,currently in the process of moving fromits present location on Navarra Street.
The old Coliseo Albia Building wasrevamped by Inbisa Construccion,which entirely demolished the interior,while retaining the classic faade.The basements have been convertedinto a car park, as well as where thedrainage and fire-fighting systemsare located.
Gran Casino Bilbao
Restoration of the faade required exhaustivecleaning coupled with painstaking handicraftrestoration of the decorative features. Inaddition, it has been fortified with severallayers of resins and cement to prevent newcracks from appearing. The lacquered finishgives it sheen while protecting it from dampand making it fireproof.
Designed by architect Emilio PUERTAS,the renovated Ribera Market hasmaintained Pedro ISPIZUA's 1927design, rebuilding it without the apseon the side near San Anton Church,according to ISPIZUA's original design.
The reconstruction of the apsehas freed up 1,700 m2 of spacebetween San Anton Churchand the new Ribera Market.Undoubtedly, the less crowdedSan Anton Church is nowsurrounded by a friendlier moredignified space where marketand church establish anarchitectural dialogue, whilerespecting the idiosyncrasy ofboth City icons.
Naturgas Energia Building
Two current trends in Bilbao are the constructionof corporate headquarters of large companiesor the use of unique historic buildings. This isthe case of the new Naturgas Energia Buildingto be inaugurated in approximately 2 years' time.
Original ly erected in 1924 as thepharmaceutical centre of Bilbao on the cornerof General Concha and Fernandez delCampo Streets, it was designed by architectsTomas BILBAO and Hilario IMAZ. Thisbuilding complex was classed as being ofhistorical interest due to its great historicvalue, as well as a prime example of rationalistarchitecture. Initially built as a one floorbuilding to house laboratories and storageareas, it subsequently grew to its currentheight as need also grew.
IMB architects' studio was commissionedwith bringing this project to fruition, whosemost dazzling feature of the interior renovationwill be the construction of an atrium withglass walls allowing natural light to enterin order to improve both lighting andacclimatisation.
Its inverted pyramid structure will be fittedin the centre of the building, and willproportionally increase in surface as thebuilding grows in height.
Although it is not known what use will bedetermined for every part of the building,the second floor is already home to theneighbourhood library. Its present 200 m2
m. of surface area triples that of the priorhome when it was housed in the nearbyCivic Centre.
Finally, there is a coffee shop on the groundfloor, where more and more one may seepeople enjoying a cup of java, or evenplaying a game of cards, in sharp contrastto a not so distant past when barnyardbirds could be seen freely running aroundthe tower-house.