Published  02/11/2007

Bilbao island dreams

Bilbao island dreams

Zaha Hadid, Britain's brilliant female architect, has a superb project to dream of, on Bilbao's Zorrozaurre peninsula. Under her current development plans she will convert the end promontory into an island. Although some 450 inhabitants still occupy what was once an extension to the port area of the city, the peninsula became excluded from the surge of prosperity post-Guggenheim. There will in the future be some eight bridges linking the new 'island' to the balance of the peninsula. Over 72 hectares (180 acres), some 6,000 houses will be built, of variable height and offering a range of socially beneficial low cost prices, accompanied by two technology centres which will enhance the existing light industrial concerns there. In addition there will be a park of four hectares (ten acres) with flood protection provision. This project follows Hadid's scheme for the civil courts in Madrid, and in Barcelona the 'Spiralling Tower' on the seafront. For Zorrozaurre, much of the old architecture will be conserved. A start is planned for 2010, with completion in 2030 at the latest. What price Utopia?

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