The city, once the manufacturing capital of its country, has found a renaissance in modern society through innovation and progressive planning. Sound familiar? Describing Bilbao’s urban renewal certainly conjures images of Pittsburgh’s transformation in the United States. After learning that they are twinned “sister cities,” I was even less surprised. Bilbao lies in the Basque Country of northern Spain, and was able to achieve its rebirth through art and design, quickly becoming one of the premier destinations for modern architecture in the world.
To look at Bilbao today, it seems hard to imagine it as an industrial city. That was exactly the goal of city planners, who when looking to create the spark to reignite the city’s infrastructure, scoffed at tradition and decided to get crazy. The results are astounding – curving bridges, glass skyscrapers, all capped by Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museo Bilbao. Gehry’s titanium-plated design epitomizes the city: the appearance changes from every angle and makes your jaw drop every time.