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Euskalduna Jauregia – Palacio Euskalduna. S.A. is a publicly run company owned by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia.
The building was designed by architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios to resemble a ship under construction, because it stands on the site formerly occupied by the Euskalduna shipyard. It won the Enric Miralles award for architecture at the 6th Spanish Architecture Biennial in 2001.
This 58,200 m² multi-purpose complex is located in the heart of the city of Bilbao, close to the international airport.
It hosts a wide range of economic, business, academic, political, institutional, social and cultural events. It is the home of the city’s opera season, organised by ABAO (Friends of the Opera of Bilbao), one of the most highly renowned in Spain and indeed Europe. It is also the home base of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (BOS), which was founded in 1920 and has been performing since 1922.
The building contains a range of venues for meetings and entertainment purposes (an auditorium, congress halls, meeting rooms, offices, foyers and a splendid exhibition hall) along with service areas featuring storage space, cloakrooms, dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, etc.
The new extension stands on the eastern side of the building. It is structured to provide the whole area with a new image and to make full use of its great potential in terms of access for pedestrians and loading/unloading vehicles. It is a true hub.
In its external outline the extension does not change the general appearance of the façade that gives onto the river and the pond, which is one of the most iconic, easily recognised parts of the original building. It provides 2,200 m² of clean, open space directly adjoining the original exhibition hall, thus providing up to 4,200 m² of exhibition space.
The new extension features a great metal roof, and can be used to provide meeting rooms of different shapes, divided up by a system of motorised partitions. Various configurations can be set up, including a single hall suitable for up to 435 people and two smaller halls seeking 285 and 132 each.
The panels used are specially lined to ensure suitable noise insulation and acoustics for the events staged. The facilities are equipped with the necessary projectors, audio systems and translation facilities.
A new entrance designed to provide greatly improved, convenient and speedy access to the conference area. Its outer appearance blends in perfectly with the other two main entrances and connects with Avda. Abandoibarra via escalators and a lift that is easy to reach and can be used from the car park.
There are also two registration areas with cloakrooms that optimise the capacity of this service and new restrooms to better meet the needs of users.
The basement levels have been rearranged and refurbished to provide several storage and catering service areas. A service lift connects storage areas and workrooms with the Exhibition Hall.
It should be noted that vehicles may also access the exhibition area if required.
The new, open central area gives the extension a clean, industrial look.
The large metal roof is made of sections of different kinds and appearances, making it a salient feature of the venue.
A granite floor neatly extends the original hall space.
Its essential elements are steel and glass, concrete supports and walls, granites and heavy duty materials, and no attempt is made to conceal their texture or their power.
Great importance was given to light in building the roof, with the emphasis being placed on letting as much light into the interior as possible. This was done with a system of small, inverted V-shaped skylights in a sawtooth pattern.
The juxtaposition of these elements creates a vibrant, irregular ambience that has become one of the centres most attractive features.