Now famous for its Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim building, Bilbao continues to come up with unique ideas to revitalize its city center through urban design. According to Metropolis POV, the city commissioned a master plan seven years ago for the Abandoibarra area in the city’s downtown. Bilbao then sponsored BilbaoJardín 2007, “a contest that solicited designs for garden plots of up to 80 square meters (about 860 square feet), to be built on scattered sites throughout the city.” The first competition received some 132 proposals and a total of 27 projects were built. The design competitition was renewed in 2009.
For 2009, Balmori Associates, a firm that worked on the downtown master plan, submitted a park, The Garden That Climbs Stairs. “Sited between two Arata Isozaki towers, the miniature urban park is an arresting combination of native and exotic plants sidling up the steps leading to Santiago Calatrava’s Nervion River Footbridge. (Seen from above, it kind of looks like a cross between The Blob and the High Line.)”
Image credit: Metropolis POV. Iwan Baan/courtesy Balmori Associates