Indeed, the Alhóndiga Bilbao didn’t start out as such an innovative concept, but instead as a wine warehouse. Inaugurated in 1909, it was designed by Ricardo Bastida, and, come the 1970s, had an uncertain future, with proposals to turn it into public housing, a museum of modern art, and even to simply demolish it. But the structure had a more promising future in store: the Basque Government decided to declare it a “Public Property of Cultural Interest,” and henceforth it has become the center that you find today.
In its 43,000-square-foot interior designed by world-renowned French designer Philippe Starck, you’ll discover a host of different things to do, from a cinema to a gym, library and shops. To get a taste for local cuisine, even stop by the restaurant, Yandiola, where you can dine a la carte or sample via a preset menu. Wander the space’s column-filled ground floor (each column with its own design), and don’t forget to look up and admire the transparent rooftop pool, which can be seen from below.