Towards the end of the 20th century, as a result of industrial restructuring, Bilbao has to make a radical change to its economy. After years of economic uncertainty, the city recovers its dynamic nature and becomes a service city, totally committed to environmental and urban regeneration. Industrial land becomes the space for internationally awarded spatial transformation (Abandoibarra) that has positioned Bilbao as a powerful tourist destination.
The great emblem of this “New Bilbao” is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, although many other factors have contributed to this regeneration and profound change. Over 25 years Bilbao has gradually been shedding its industrial skin and rehabilitating emblematic areas of the city. The recovery of the historic town centre after the brutal floods of 1983 is one of the great achievements made. Today, the Old Quarter (Casco Viejo) is a first class tourist area that preserves the traditions and identity of the city. Be sure to visit this area, where it is essential to stroll, mingle and enjoy some local tapas (pintxos) washed down with good wine.
Completing the strategic project for the transformation of Bilbao are the new bridges, the metro, airport and tram. These infrastructures, many of them designed by renowned architects (Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, etc.), form an excellent mobility network, connecting Bilbao and its neighbourhoods with surrounding communities and also internationally
Bizkaia Aretoa UPV-EHU, is a building designed by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, awarded in 1992 with the Pritzker Prize, and it stands as a new architectural landmark in Bilbao. This building is located in one of the most emblematic areas of Bilbao, built in a shape of a ‘L’, open to the river and the Guggenheim Museum, in the heart of Abandoibarra Avenue, between the walkway Padre Arrupe and the Bridge of Deusto. Today this building houses all kinds of social, cultural, scientific and academic events, making the Bizkaia Aretoa one of the reference centers in Bilbao regarding the event management.