Today, in a meeting attended both in-person and virtually by Bingen Zupiria, spokesperson and minister of Culture and Linguistic Policy of the Basque Government, Unai Rementeria, chairman of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, and Juan Mari Aburto, mayor of Bilbao, the Museum Board expressed their support for the expansion plan designed by Norman Foster and Luis Mª Uriarte
In the wake of Bilbao City Council’s approval of the Special Plan and presentation of the core project, the final drafting and bidding process of the construction project—commencing in September 2021 in the modern building—is to be set in motion. The extension will allow all the requirements presented in the Strategic Plan to be implemented on the same premises, enabling the museum to expand considerably by over 5,000 m2. The emblematic nature of the project, conservation of both existing architectural features and the natural setting, and greater energy efficiency are the guiding principles behind the project’s design. Furthermore, the space around Francisco Durrio’s Arriaga monument will become a new public sculpture gallery accessed via the entrances on Euskadi square and Chillida square.
At the same meeting it was also decided that the funding model for the construction work set out in the museum’s Strategic Plan would remain unchanged. The model consists of the formalisation of a long-term loan taken out by the Foundation, estimated at 25 million euros, which will be repaid by the three founding institutions: Bilbao City Council, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Basque Government.
The project’s editing team has confirmed the good news that the museum will be able to remain partially open during nearly the entirety of the construction project, which is estimated to last 21 months. The expansion project will allow a significant part of the old museum building—the least affected by the construction work—to remain open. It will be accessible via its original entrance, where a provisional ramp will be set up in order to improve access. During this time, the museum’s management has set forth a special rotation programme for the collection so that the largest possible number of works remain on view and so as to ensure that the institution’s education and dissemination programmes continue. Moreover, according to the construction plans, both the departments and internal services of the museum and the bulk of the non-exhibited collection will be able to remain at the museum throughout the construction process.
Cátedra UNESCO Report: PDF
“Las arquitecturas del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao” – Maite Paliza Monduate: PDF