Bilbao health departmentIT HAS long been one of Europe’s most exciting buildings. But the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao now has a rival.

The gleaming, angular facade makes it look – at a glance – like an enormous, glass version of a mangled tin can. But the new health department for the city is starting to give the Guggenheim a run for its money.


According to the Spanish architects, Juan Coll-Barreu and Daniel Gutiérrez Zarza, the chiselled glass front of the 13-storey, 8,000 sq metre building was designed to reflect the moving panorama of the sky.

The €12m project has aroused controversy in Bilbao, with opinion divided over whether it is an expensive gimmick or a marvel to rival the Guggenheim.

Coll-Barreu said: “With this design we were just trying to resolve a problem which [the authorities] presented us with.

“Is it going to be the new Guggenheim? I could not say. But according to the local press it is currently the most photographed building in the city.”