Foster + Partners to design expansion for Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

A project created by UK architect Foster + Partners and Spanish firm LM Uriarte Arkitektura has won an international design competition for an expansion and remodelling of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

The team, working under the pseudonym "Agravitas", envisage a new structure linking the 1945 and 1970 buildings at the rear and adding 2,000 sq m of galleries across a single floor.

The original entrance to the 1945 entrance will be restored.

The jury commented in a statement that Foster + Partners’ design "carefully respects the existing, recovering the historical values of the museum and projecting it towards the future with a new grand gallery that rises over the constructions of 1945, 1970 and 2001 to write a new chapter in the life of the institution.

"Technological in its image, humanistic in its approach and ecological in its sustainability, the proposal combines architectural quality, urban sensitivity and social responsibility to raise a luminous landmark in the historic heart of Bilbao."

Lord Foster, Foster + Partners’ founder, said: "We are delighted to have this opportunity to create a major new extension and remodel the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

"Our design will restore the existing mid-20th-century building and setting to its original glory, create a new publicly accessible atrium space and add major new galleries for contemporary art in a floating pavilion."

Images courtesy of Foster + Partners

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