Bilbao Arena / ACXT

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Architects: ACXT / Javier Pérez Uribarri y Nicolás Espinosa Barrientos
Location: , Spain
Client: Azpiegiturak (Diputación Foral de Bizkaia)
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 30,808 sqm
Photographs: Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Project Team: Arquitectura – Leyre de Lecea, Ricardo Moutinho, Xabier Aparicio, Roberto Aparicio, Leticia Paschetta, Jose M. Cavallero, Nuno Miguel Lobo, Ziortza Bardeci, Virginia Canales; Ingeniería (IDOM): Fco. Javier Ruiz de Prada, Arrate Atxalandobaso, Javier Atutxa, Gorka Uria, Francisco García, Francisco Javier Gómez, Iker Velasco, Xabier Rekakoetxeta, Romina Gonzalez, Mireia Campmany, Miquel García, Unai Medina, Francisco José Sánchez, Jon Zubiaurre, Amaia Lastra, Rafael Pérez, Arturo Cabo, Oscar Malo; L&M Ingenierik.

Bilbao, Miribilla neighborhood, built on ancient iron mines adjacent to the old part of town. A very hilly solar (46 m from one corner to another, just 200m) in which the building was caught in the neighborhood park.


Limestone rocks sticking out between the banks and trees in the park gave us the key to design and resolve the complex functional and circulation program: use of simultaneous game day sports use, use of court by the neighbors, access to players, officials, public premises for a possible lookout restaurant, sports center with a separate entrance but with access to track so that residents can use the court when there is no match, parking connected to both spaces, etc …

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

We divided the building into two parts. The Arena enclosure at the top with the tickets away from houses to avoid the possible inconvenience of excessive noise of the followers of Bilbao Basket.
The sports center at the bottom, closer to homes.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

The Bilbao Arena was designed as a tree, tree-pillars that brace the elements in the metal structure façade and painted steel sheets in various colors to build an air-permeable end that hides all the machines in room climate.

Floor Plan

The sports center was designed as a rock, precast concrete panels textured and colored in the mass of the color gray limestone of the area. A hollow rock in which the three spaces of sports communicate visually, in stages, in cascade: access to parking, gym and swimming pool. Panels lined with green, the color of moss. And the arboreal mass about Bilbao Arena over the rock


The facade of the Bilbao Arena in the area of the corridors, the rings, the sum of the limited budget and a clear focus on low power, is designed permeable, resolved with a galvanized steel mesh is used for containment of slopes roads. Thus the space of the corridors, is an outdoor environment that requires no ventilation or air conditioning and increases safety in evacuation in case of fire. When the viewer opens the door vomitory already on the street and thanks to this permeability and high elevation of the citycenter become a viewpoint.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

In the bathrooms again the strategy of the permeability: a closure plate perforated minionda ensures privacy and natural ventilation ducts or without ventilation equipment. Inside the pavilion is coated sand minionda entirely perforated plated, galvanized or lacquered, according to areas and rock wool. Vandal-resistant enclosures and get a good performance and absorbents that have enabled phone a perfect intelligibility of PA systems.


In one corner of Bilbao Arena in the highest level, that of the tree, leaves, provided for the local hospitality, with a core of vertical communication with two lifts and completely independent of the rest, to enable operation at different times. A generous balcony or terrace occupies behind the veneer in place dealing with the other facades of air conditioning machines. To enable the views of the city by simply removing a few leaves, not a Cartesian gap.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

The sports center has a pool and gym and management office complex. The divisions between the various gyms and between them and the pool are made of glass, including the connecting corridor with parking. The aim is that the building is safe for the user, without dark corridors, and visual control by staff: everything in sight.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Everything inside the sports center is coated with an absorbent fiberboard phone, green. A large skylight in a corner of the pool, introduce natural light to illuminate the green signs would point to the green light we see when we dive in ponds or streams or caves.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

The cover sports is a vegetable, green, an indoor cistern that stores rainwater, which retrieves the plant substrate by capillary action and makes irrigation unnecessary. The pool water that the law requires waste, 5% per day, a lot of gallons for a pool of 25 m and 7 streets, stored in the basement in a cistern, where trucks that clean the streets of Bilbao refuel reused.

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

The machine sports conditioning and ventilation are located in a large covered patio with a Tramex (see cross section) between the pavilion and the sports arena. It is easy maintenance and unnecessary noise pollution and visual environment to housing.

Floor Plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Bilbao Arena / ACXT" 15 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Great project, I really enjoyed viewing this post.Congrats!
    Could you just tell me how was it possible to have only two! lifts for an arena with this capacity?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    To james…the two lifts are only for the upper level. The 3 levels if the arena are connected to the surroundings by the perimeter. You can get to each level without the stairs. Once inside you can use them. See cross section!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i can’t wait until the ‘random colorful’ panel system facades go out of style. i sincerely can’t wait.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It seems that this article is originally written in Spanish but is translated through Google Translate. It would be nice if someone would re-write it. Building is genius by the way. Especially the use of steel mesh.

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