Alhóndiga Bilbao was on my must sees list in Bilbao. I wanted to see this building with my own eyes after having read good reviews about it.
Alhóndiga was originally a wine storage. Architect Ricardo Bastida completed this monument in 1909. In 1970es this building was empty which made Bilbao municipality decide to have it renovated in 1998.
French industrial designer Philippe Starck was appointed to execute the renovation which he splendidly did.
With 75 millions euro Starck had established his signature in this monument. Alhóndiga had been renovated from a city wine storage into a multi – purpose building for sport, art, education and leisure.
In the building there are following facilities: an auditorium, 8 cinemas on the basement, a library, a gym, a swimming pool on top of the building, a roof terrace, cafes, restaurants and apartments. Most important tourist attraction are the columns. On the ground floor Starck set 43 thick columns, each of them
is differently designed.
The pièce de résistance, swimming pool on the top. This is shot from the ground floor. This pic is courtesy of Tomas Fano from Wikipedia Espana. For me it was difficult to take a shot of the swimming pool because of the poor light and the lens I had. That is why I borrow the pic above.
Professional pictures of Alhóndiga with explanation from design point of view are available at Dezeen.
With Guggenheim Museum and Alhóndiga and other modernistic looking buildings I can’t name I can say Bilbao is justly a city of modernism. The Bilbao Municipality has done a good job revamping this monument. It is now a trendy, open and visitor friendly meeting point for both inhabitants and tourists.