The extension works of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum won't begin until 2021. Read this information to know more about it.
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Culture Nivel B1

The works of the Bilbao Fine Arts expansion project designed by Norman Foster won’t begin until 2021

The extension works of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, whose project is carried out with the architect Luis Maria Uriarte, won’t begin until the first four months of 2021 and won’t end until the autumn of 2022.


Bilbao / The British architect Norman Foster, winner of the extension and reform contest of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, has redone his initial proposal, what it means he has achieved to get 3,000 square meters more than those planned in his first project for designing a second gallery in the vault, where only one was previously planned, which would make it unnecessary to transfer services from the Museum to an external building.

The new project for the extension of the Bilbao Museum of Classical and Contemporary Art, called “Agravitas” and awarded to Foster in collaboration with the architect from Alava (Spain) Luis Maria Uriarte, includes a second floor of 2,000 square meters in the vault designed above the current one the roof of the classic Museum building when only one was designed before to host the main exhibition hall.

Foster explained, in the presentation in Bilbao of the Advance of the Project of Reform and Extension of the Museum, that the inclusion of this second floor in the vault, in which the services of the educational program of the Museum and the administration offices, will allow to release 1,000 square meters in the underground of the current building, where the administrative offices of the art gallery are currently located.

The British architect has pointed out that the space that the administrative offices may leave in the basement of the museum may be destined to house the store of works of art, the archives of the Museum, the library, the documentation department and other services thereof They planned to move to an external building away from it and that way they can be kept inside the art gallery.

Foster, who has been personally involved in the drafting of the architectural project, for which he has made hundreds of sketches, has confessed in his speech that the idea of creating a second floor in the new vault of the building to get more space to the expansion, has emerged “earlier this month” and will still have to refine and adjust the project in the coming months, along with its collaborators.

Beginning of the works

Museum sources have explained to the media that the final drafting of the architectural and executive project of the extension is not expected to be completed before the end of 2020, so that the works could begin in the first four months of 2021 and would be completed in autumn or winter of 2022, so that the new museum can be inaugurated at the end of 2022 or throughout the first quarter of 2023.

The British architect has argued that the visual impact of his expansion project is “kind” with its architectural environment and that it achieves a “balance” between the new structure of the vault, futuristic in nature, and the buildings of its surroundings and its own Museum of Fine Arts.

The event was attended by Unai Rementeria, deputy general of Bizkaia and president of the Board of Trustees of the museum; Bingen Zupiria, Minister of Culture and Language Policy of the Basque Government; Juan Mari Aburto, mayor of Bilbao, and members of the Board of Trustees and the jury of the extension contest. (December 18, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)