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It’s difficult for anyone familiar with architecture to instantly think ‘Guggenheim’ upon hearing the name ‘Bilbao’. But the brilliant thing is, Bilbao, Spain is home to multitudes of quite interesting architecture. Take this guy for example. This green, scaled building is the Bilbao Arena, built by ACXT.

Courtesy of ACTX

Built atop a hill which was once an ancient iron mine, the Arena is home to two separate yet connected programs. There is the arena itself and all the services associated with such a program (locker rooms, game day entrances, ticketing, media accommodations…) and a community sports hall.

Courtesy of ACTX

The arena is set upon the hill itself, creating a level of detachment from the surrounding neighborhood in order to minimize the impact those areas experience from the noise and congestion, which game day proceedings would certainly create. This part of the program is skinned in the building’s iconic painted steel scales, alluding to the entertainment and excitement held within. It is also open to the public in some capacities, namely the track, on days when there are no events. On event days, it is surely open to the public. Or rather, to the public who have tickets.

Courtesy of ACTX

Below the arena, somewhat set into the hill, is the sports hall. This is a community center, home to a pool and several gym facilities, as well as management offices. The outcropping part of the sports hall is made from precast concrete, while the interior partitions and the part which sits directly below the arena, are done in glass, creating a strong sense of visibility throughout the program.

Courtesy of ACTX

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