Alhóndiga Bilbao, Azkuna Zentroa

Project by Philippe Starck

It’s a pride to have participated in the European project for the Alhóndiga Bilbao made by the famous architect Philippe Starck! Myrtha Pools, thanks to the design and functionality of its exclusive technology, has created two swimming pools for training citizens of this Spanish city. Both pools have a special overflowing structure designed by Philippe Stark with a natural stone finish. But the peculiarity of these pools is the large skylights (underwater windows) placed at the bottom that turn the “Atrium of Cultures”, located 16 meters below, into a true setting. Just by looking up, you can admire swimmers fluctuating on the roof of the entrance. A dream come true thanks to the firmness and lightness of Myrtha’s exclusive stainless-steel modular structure.

 

Discover more, read the project description below…

It’s a pride to have participated in the European project for the Alhóndiga Bilbao made by the famous architect Philippe Starck! Myrtha Pools, thanks to the design and functionality of its exclusive technology, has created two swimming pools for training citizens of this Spanish city. Both pools have a special overflowing structure designed by Philippe Stark with a natural stone finish. But the peculiarity of these pools is the large skylights (underwater windows) placed at the bottom that turn the “Atrium of Cultures”, located 16 meters below, into a true setting. Just by looking up, you can admire swimmers fluctuating on the roof of the entrance. A dream come true thanks to the firmness and lightness of Myrtha’s exclusive stainless-steel modular structure.

 

Discover more, read the project description below…

The project

The old wine and oil warehoue built in the early 20th century under the project of the Bilbao architect Ricardo Bastida is characterized by its “Art Noveau” style. After its closure, in 1999 it was declared a “Site of Cultural Interest” but it was only in 2010 that the project led by the architect Philippe Starck saw the light of day to become a magnificent 43,000 m2 sports and cultural centre open to all citizens.

The facades of the Alhóndiga, now called Azkuna Zentroa (in honor of the doctor and mayor of Bilbao Iñaki Azkuna) have been rehabilitated, but it is in the interior where there have been more changes. The creativity and functionality of the Myrtha pools are not the only trace of Italian design, as the three cubes built inside are supported by 43 pillars – different in terms of materials and models – designed by the Italian cinema production designer Lorenzo Baraldi and the result of the artisans from Milan, Florence, Rome and Eibar.

As for the spaces, it is worth highlighting the Mediateka, a 4,000m2 library with three floors that includes 70,000 titles including books, magazines, films and video games. The cinema, the exhibition halls, the tapas bars and a restaurant complete the cultural and gastronomic offer. Under the motto “healthy mind in a healthy body” a 2,700m2 gym could not be missing and on the fourth floor, under a layer of glass, there are two pools made by Myrtha and heated thanks to the 200m2 of solar panels. There are some classic activities in the water such as aquadance, aquapilates, aquaboxe, swimming for the disabled and prepartum swimming. On the same floor there is a panoramic terrace of the city and an appreciated solarium enclosed by arches with an almost metaphysical flavor.

Technical card:
Project: Philippe Starck-Starck Networks
Customer: Bilbao Town Hall (La Alhóndiga, Centro de Ocio y Cultura, S.A.U.)
Dimensions: 60.000 m² approx. (total surface)
Chronology: 2001, design; 2010, end of works