Floating pavilion to be added to Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners
Floating pavilion to be added to Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Floating pavilion to be added to Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Foster + Partners has won the international design competition to remodel the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

Working with LM Uriarte Arkitektura, the proposal aims to reorient the museum towards the city by restoring the façade of the existing building and making it more permeable, while enhancing the institution’s identity. The original entrance of the 1945 building will be restored and a new structure will sit across the 1945 and 1970 buildings at the rear to give the museum 2,000sq m of new galleries on a single open, flexible floor.

The revitalisation turns Plaza Arriaga into the new heart along the museum’s spine, with light streaming in from the rooflight piercing through the new gallery spaces above. The ground floor is on a single accessible plane allowing visitors to orient themselves easily. The new addition is characterised by a modelled façade with viewing terraces to enhance its slenderness, with minimal supports placed away from the footprint of the existing buildings.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to create a major new extension and remodel the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum,” says Norman Foster, founder and executive chairman of Foster + Partners.

“Our design will restore the existing mid-twentieth century building and setting to its original glory, create a new publicly accessible atrium space and add major new galleries for contemporary art in a floating pavilion.”