Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

Time to fly away

Bilbao, Spain

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Time flies, but sometimes, it wants to take a break. This is the case at airports: with the lines, luggage, and waiting, time seems to move backwards. And yet, there we are, ready to fly, getting closer to the speed of time as we jump between meridians and time zones.

Santiago Calatrava’s buildings also seek the sky. With their white concrete, winged structures, and free spaces, they seem to want to break free from their foundations and take off. Maybe this is why the new terminal at Bilbao Airport had to be called La Paloma – the Dove. Nearby, the control tower by the same architect is nicknamed El Halcón, the Falcon, and the sharp eyes there don’t miss anything happening in the sky.

Bilbao Airport, located in the municipalities of Sondika and Loiu, accommodates one of the highest numbers of passengers in Spain. It has been since La Paloma was completed, replacing the old terminal’s facilities which had been in operation since the 1940s. The Calatrava building has three floors with a total of 39,000 square meters, which span the winged white structure made of concrete. The central area, a completely open-plan hall measuring 7,000 square meters, is hidden under a sloping roof that stands 29 meters high.

The feeling of being just about to take off stays with passengers from the moment they walk in until they leave the building. Access to the first floor, where the departure area is located, is connected to the world by a five-lane bridge over a cantilever spanning more than 40 meters. And the pre-boarding areas shaped like a large rectangle make up the Dove’s wings, and they have a direct view of the airfield.

Construction on the new Bilbao airport terminal, done by Ferrovial, is topped off with a large parking lot – also the work of Calatrava. It has five floors with 19,000 square meters each, which is enough room for 3,000 vehicles.

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