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Basque Health Department HQ, Bilbao, Spain

Monday 29 Sep 2008

Breathing polyhedral emblem for Bilbao

© Aleix Bagué 
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30/09/08 Edd Soenke, FCSI, Des Moines,IA, USA
Intriguing manipulation of light, hopefully not a a target of separatists.


The new Health Department headquarters are set to become a distinguished addition to the Basque cityscape 

Bilbao, a city with an open and welcoming attitude towards contemporary architecture, is now the proud owner of a new architectural destination.

El Departamento de Sanidad y Osakidetza, the new unified headquarters of the Basque Health Department created by the young and prolific firm Coll-Barreu Arquitectos are located in the Ensanche, New Town, at the junction of 2 important arteries: Licenciado Poza and Alameda Rekalde.

The striking façade, reminiscent of a cubist exercise, is a shell of glass placed at irregular angles. The resultant folds generate multiple reflections visible from the inside changing its appearance depending on the point of view, the hour and the season. The architects describe it as “a very effective mechanism for the integration of urban vitality in the interior of the building. The city is perceived like a multidirectional system of moving vectors.” The façade is also a double skin that responds to energy saving requirements, allowing the abolition of traditional air-conditioning systems and false ceilings, insulating heat, reducing noise and letting in precious natural light.

The irregular building spreading over a total floor area of 9,200 sq m will soon host some 250 civil servants and a predicted 600 members of the public daily in a clean cut and stylish environment. The space is divided in seven open-plan floors for offices, two levels for institutional and representative uses, meeting rooms in the tower, an auditorium with 150 seats in the basement, and 3 underground levels for parking.

The building reflects the dynamic approach and the investigative spirit of Coll-barreu Arquitectos whose creations such as The Data Processing Center in Bilbao and the Air Traffic Control Center in Madrid have already received much praise and attention.

The Health Department headquarters are currently being fitted and are expect to open this autumn.

Laura Salmi

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 13.09(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Coll-Barreu Arquitectos

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