Bilbao arguably launched the vogue for contemporary starchitecture, with the titanium-clad Guggenheim Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry. That vogue has wound down–witness Dubai. Urban planners are now gaining prominence, as we realize the connection between livable cities and low-carbon emissions.
So it makes impeccable sense that Bilbao’s showiest new public work isn’t another flashy building. It’s a beautiful, faceted park.
Designed by ACXT,
the park serves as a promenade linking two neighborhoods, which had been separated by a odd, badly placed slip of land.
As Inhabitat writes, this is part of a larger movement in Bilbao:
Situated between the districts of Txurdínaga and Otxarcoaga, Pau Casals Square is part of a series of projects that Bilbao
has undertaken to improve urban spaces in the city’s outlying areas,
creating connections between different neighborhoods and increasing the
quality of life for residents. These neighborhoods grew during the
post-war era, when they suffered from poor urban infrastructure and
disorderly planning, which created rocky unused spaces like this site
along Jesus Galindez Avenue.
All those seemingly willy-nilly concete facets you see serve a purpose: The site is steep and rocky, and prone to landslides. Rather than razing it, ACXT preserved as much as they could and shored up the trickiest sections with concrete.