Ideas Contest

BIA Urban Regeneration Forum“Elorrietako Ribera – Ribera de Elorrieta” [Elorrieta Waterfront] in Bilbao


BIA Urban Regeneration Forum has launched the II International Ideas Contest for students and young architects to promote the urban transformation and regeneration of the consolidated city.

The aim of the Ideas Contest is to focus on urban planning and the design of public space of a zone located on the Elorrieta waterfront in Bilbao, between the Metro underground tracks and Bilbao river estuary. It is currently mainly occupied by municipal services (cleaning, buses, etc.) and industrial and business buildings, and, to a lesser extent, by residential buildings at the north end.

Curated by Marta Gonzalez Cavia and Jorge Cabrera Bartolomé, the contest embraces the renewal of the area overall, its integration in the surrounding environment with a special emphasis on the designing of public spaces making up the Waterfront.

Description of the sphere of action

See attached documentation.

The sphere of action is the Elorrieta Waterfront, between the Bilbao river estuary and the Metro underground tracks. Its boundaries are:

• To the north, it borders with the Metro Bilbao tracks (Tellaetxebidea), with Mount San Pablo and with Lutxana-Erandio.
• To the south, with a residential area, Calle Ricardo Gutierrez Abascal (Juan de la Encina)
• To the west, with Bilbao river estuary
• To the east, in the same way as to the north, it borders the Metro tracks and Mount San Pablo (Tellaetxebidea).

The sphere of action is currently a peripheral area, located in the most northerly part of the city of Bilbao (it adjoins the municipality of Erandio) and is mainly occupied by industrial or urban infrastructure buildings, comprising an area that lacks integration and cohesion with its immediate surroundings, which is mainly a residential area of the San Ignacio Neighbourhood. In this regard, it should be noted that the relationship with the river is totally cut off by the main road linking the city with the outside running north to south (Ribera de Elorrieta) parallel to the Bilbao river estuary, which prevents the connectivity of the urban fabric and the river. Furthermore, the edge of the waterfront consists of a small wall and a row of parking spaces that run along the whole riverbank.

In the surrounding area, special mention should be made of the planned “navigable” pedestrian bridge to Punta Zorrotza, and the Pump House, which has been restored and declared a Cultural Asset by the Basque Government.

Background, historical references and urban planning forecasts of the sphere of action

See attached documentation.
A quick glance at its history is helpful to understand the place and its current context. The San Ignacio-Elorrieta neighbourhood is part of Bilbao’s No. 1 District, Deusto. Therefore, we should begin by considering Deusto to understand the history of San Ignacio-Elorrieta.
The parish of Deusto was originally just a few farmsteads back in the 16th century, which gradually grew in number, with the main activity being fishing and port services. Back in the 18th century, the population eminently worked in farming, growing mainly wheat and vines.

At the end of the 19th century, the zone received a major boost due to the arrival of the train that linked Bilbao with Las Arenas Spa, in Getxo. The local residents could use it to take their products to the La Ribera market in Bilbao more easily, as the journey had previous been on foot or by horse.,

On 29 October 1924, a Royal Decree ordered the disappearance of the Parish of Deusto and its annexation to the city of Bilbao, which came into effect on 1 January 1925.
Officially, Deusto District is divided in 4 neighbourhoods: Arangoiti, Ibarrekolanda, San Pedro de Deusto-La Ribera and San Ignacio-Elorrieta, with the latter being the focus of our attention.
San Ignacio-Elorrieta has a population of 13,908 inhabitants in a surface area of 0.65 km2 and a population density of 21,397 inhab/km². The origin of the modern neighbourhood dates back to the 1950s and it was built with the name of San Ignacio de Loyola by the Ministry of Housing as a “commuter district” due to the large inflow of immigrants due to the heavy re-industrialisation of the River Nervión basin after the Spanish Civil War. Therefore, the majority of the farming land, crops and farmstead to be found there were destroyed to construct new housing. Only a few farmsteads survived in Elorrieta and on the slopes of Mount Banderas. The Casa Grande de Elorrieta, a stately house that had been built at the turn of the 20th century, also remains standing.

The Elorrieta neighbourhood dates back to 1897 and is home to the Deusto Abattoir, next to the boundary with the municipality of Erandio. San Ignacio, on the Deusto expansion area, noted for its marshland and farmsteads, was built after the Civil War. The north-eastern tip of the neighbourhood, Elorrieta, also had Spain’s first wastewater treatment plant station. What remained of the Pump House has now been restored and declared a Cultural Asset by the Basque Government.

Mention should also be made of the course of the river as the historical river transport axis between El Abra and El Arenal. The sphere of action is part of the old towline path which was used to move the vessels to El Arenal and that lost feature has now been recovered with the total opening of the canal.

The future General Plan of Bilbao, currently being drafted, has the strategic goal of recovering the riverbank for the general public as the hub of the municipality, giving continuity in those areas where it is interrupted.

It is an area of the city that is easy to reach by public transport (Bilbobus and Metro).

On the other hand, and now looking to the future, special mention should be made of the envisaged town planning in the sphere of action, where planning work has been carried out in the following areas and the following interventions are intended:

– Zorrotzaurre Special Plan which implements the Master Plan designed by Zaha Hadid, which contemplates not only the “Zorrotzaurre Island”, but also the whole right bank of the Deusto canal, and which adjoins the sphere of action.

– Punta Zorrotza Special Plan, in process.

Links consulted:

Attached documentation

The complete documentation for the contest is available from the website and contains documentation relating to the sphere of action:

Appendix 1 Location Map [Plano de situación]

Appendix 2 Cartography and demarcation of the sphere of action [Cartografía y delimitación del ámbito de actuación]. In pdf and dwg format.

Appendix 3 Layout diagram of connectivity points with the environment and location of the floating pedestrian bridge to Punta Zorrotza [Esquema de disposición de puntos de conectividad rodada con el entorno y ubicación puente peatonal flotante con Punta Zorrotza]

Appendix 4 Other documentation of interest of the context [Otra documentación de interés del context]

Appendix 4.1 Photos of the area and surroundings. Current Status [Fotos del ámbito y entorno.. Estado actual]
Appendix 4.2 Historical Photos of the area [Fotos históricas del entorno]
Appendix 4.3 Aerial photos of the area with demarcation of the sphere of action [Fotos aéreas del ámbito con delimitación del ámbito de actuación]
Appendix 4.4 Integration of the sphere with the course of the river [Integración del ámbito con el eje de la ría]
Appendix 4.5 Envisaged Zorrotzaurre Urban Planning [Previsión de ordenación de Zorrotzaurre]
Appendix 4.6 Envisaged Punta Zorrotza Urban Planning [Previsión de ordenación de Punta Zorrotza]

Appendix 4 Links of Interest [Enlaces de interés]:

Google earth link (ficherokmz)
Link to Bling of the area

Urban Observatory of the Bilbao IV neighbourhoods Report May 2013

“EL CANAL” Neighbourhood Association

“De Vecinos De Elorrieta” Neighbourhood Association

Zorrotzaurre Management Committee

Evaluation Criteria and Goals

The proposals must include the integral urban planning of the sphere of action, freely, taking the following considerations into account.

– All the existing non-residential buildings included in the sphere of action are outside the urban planning project and their demolition is envisaged.

– The existing road layout that links the San Ignacio neighbourhood to the outside, which currently runs parallel to the river, may be changed provided the conditions established in Appendix 3 are respected.

– A pedestrian bridge linking the sphere of action with Punta Zorrotza is planned and its approximate location is shown in Appendix 3.

– Flooding conditions: given flooding issues, it is considered that the threshold of the housing and commercial premises have to be located at a grade level equal or over 4.40 m. The location of critical uses in floodable areas (basements or ground floors) will likewise have to be avoided.

The main objectives of the urban planning are:

– The recovering of the banks of the river estuary and the creation of quality spaces on the resulting urban waterfront that uses green infrastructures and nature-based solutions to adapt it to climate change (floods, heat island, etc.).
Recover of the connection with the river estuary, with water.

– Urban planning for the existing buildings and design of a new urban fabric with sustainable, quality public spaces and buildings that are integrated in the place and in the already consolidated city, according to the following urban development parameters.

Total buildable area: 9,500 m2
70-80% residential use (720 housing units)
30-20% other uses

Building height: free

Urban development standards:

Free spaces, green areas and parks:
• minimum 15% of the total surface area or provision.
• exceptionally, a maximum of 1.5% can be public parking spaces in surface car parks.

Public facilities:
• 5m2 land/25 m2 of ceiling surface area over ground of built according to urban development plan, or 5 m2 ceiling/ 25m2 surface area, or a combination of both.

Car parking:
• 0.35 places/25m2 of ceiling surface area over ground for residential purposes in private-owned plots.

• Planting or keeping 1 tree for each new housing unit on residential land and for each 100 m2 built.

The main evaluation criteria and goals that will be taken into account when assessing the proposals are as follows:

1) Environmental comfort and quality of the resulting urban areas and representativeness of the intervention, with special emphasis on the waterfront: landscape, social, functional and recreational components, thermal conditions, noise, etc.

2) Quality of the urban planning proposal: buildings, mobility, distribution of the spaces, urban scene, etc., with special interest in bio-climatic solutions.

3) Prioritising the creation of green areas and application of sustainable environmental aspect that foster mitigation and adaptation to the effects of climate change, by means of reducing the exposure and vulnerability to flooding and heat waves, designing the urban development using nature-based solutions (permeable soil, multifunction spaces and uses, water pools, green roofs, green frontages).

4) Specific treatment of the areas affected by flooding with 100 and 500 year return periods in anticipation of those return periods being shortened due to the impact of climate change. Considering applying land uses according to their 100 return period likelihood of flooding to the area affected by 500.

5) Considering the impact that the redevelopment proposal may have on the urban climate and thermal maps of the city, analysing the problems associated to the heat island effect.

6) Driver potential of the proposal. Urban regeneration as a driver of social regeneration: flows and mobility, activities, interrelation and meeting spaces… not just locally, but also globally.

7) Recovery of the identity of the place.

8) Optimising the mobility of the environment, the functionality (integration with the already consolidated city: spaces, amenities, metro…) and the integration with the course of the river…

9) Constructive, economic and technical viability of the proposal.


Queries may be submitted through the website until 10 June 2016.
A complete anonymous list of the consultations and clarifications will be published on the BIA Urban Regeneration Forum website ( no later than a week from the above date, i.e. 17 June 2016.

The list of questions and answers, together will the rules and regulations in full, will be given to the Contest Jury as soon as it is formed. The considerations arising from these consultations will be strictly observed by the Jury.

Submitting entries

Submission date:
Entries may be submitted until 12 midnight on 24 June 2016 (local time).

Submission of documentation:
The documentation shall be submitted via the BIA web platform
Identification of the participants, the submission of the entry and the capacity certificate shall be completed on the platform using the fields established for that purpose.
Anonymity shall be guaranteed by the automated handling of data.
The files to be attached shall comply with the following instructions:

Technical proposal [slogan_PANEL.pdf] The format of the proposals shall be 2 panels in A1 format in vertical layout (north in the upper part) with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, which will contain graphic documentation and an explanatory report, sufficient for the correct understanding of the proposal..
The file (both A1s in a single pdf) will be named using the slogan chosen followed by the word PANEL [slogan_PANEL.pdf]- without identifying the participants and/or authors of the proposal- and ensuring it is of a reasonable size (not larger than 8 MB).
The slogan of the proposal, your own choice, will be in the lower right-hand corner, in a space of 10 cm x 10 cm.
The files will be used in possible publication and to produce a compilation of all the entries that will be given to all the members of the Jury prior to their deliberations, for their detailed study.

Certificate justifying capacity to participate [slogan_CERTIFICATE.pdf] Certificate accrediting that the participants are students at a School of Architecture / certificate of their qualifications.
The file shall be named with the name of the chosen slogan followed by the world CERTIFICATE [slogan_CERTIFICATE.pdf]

The language of the proposals will be the one of the following: English – Spanish – Basque – French.


The slogan required for the technical proposal will be chosen freely by the participations, with no restrictions in format.

Anonymity shall be guaranteed by the automated handling of data, with the Jury being kept independent from the data handling process.

The information will be handled by the Technical Secretariat of the BIA Urban Regeneration Forum, which will be responsible for submitting anonymously to the July all the technical proposals received and that comply with the conditions of this specification.

Once the winning slogan and finalists of the contest are known, the Technical Secretariat, independent from the Jury, will provide the identification documents and will make the authors known to the public.


The contest is aimed at students or recent graduates of architecture (max. 5 years). Entries may be individual or joint, provided all the members of the team fulfil the previous condition or student or recent graduate.

It will not be necessary to register beforehand and the mere presentation of the documentation listed in the “Submitting Entries” section will suffice to enter the contest.

Participation via submitting an entry implies the acceptance of these rules and regulations by the individual or joint author of members of the collective team.


The BIA Jury will be made up of at least 8 members from among the following:

Technical representative of Bilbao City Council
Representative of the Basque Navarre Association of Urban Architects (AVNAU)
Representative of the Official Association of Basque-Navarre Architects (COAVN)
Member (architect) of the BIA Conference Scientific Committee
Representative (architect) of the School of Architecture of Navarra (ETSAUN)
Representative (architect) of the School of Architecture of San Sebastián (ETSASS)
Renowned local architect
Representative (architect) expert in urban regeneration of BIlbao
Representative proposed by the neighbours association
Contest curator
Representative of the Zorrotzaurre Manager Committee

The list of the member of the Jury will be announced in the website of the contest once the definitive composition has been established.

Made up of members of the general public who visit and vote in the framework of the exhibition open to the public which will be help during the BIA Conference and by the interest users who visit and vote as part of the virtual exhibition on the BIA Conference website.

The secretary of the July, who is entitled to be heard but not to vote, will draw up the report on the entries received and the decision of the Jury which will be published on the BIA website.


No person in any of the following situation may be a member of the Jury:
– anyone having a permanent and existing professional relationship with any of the contestants, constituting a legal or ethical obligation of abstention.
– anyone related to any of the contestants, having a relationship of consanguinity up to the fourth degree or by affinity to the second degree.


The awards granted will be as follows:

The BIA Jury will select, on the one hand, the ten most representative or outstanding proposals of those entered to be exhibited to the general public in Bilbao during the BIA Conference. The BIA organisers will invite the participants of the selected proposals to participate in the Congress at a reduced registration fee (€50).

The Jury will also grant the “BIA Award” to the proposal it considers the best in accordance with the established criteria and run runners-up:

BIA Award: €3,000
2 runners-up: €500

As part of the BIA Urban Regeneration Forum, an exhibition will be held – in a highly visible area linked to the forum – of the ten proposal selected by the BIA Jury. This exhibition will include citizen participation (BIA POPULAR Jury) and the possibility to vote. Similarly, access to all the proposals will be available through the BIA website and Internet users (BIA NETWORK Jury) will be able to vote. The combination of these votes will decide the result of the “BIA Network Award”.

BIA Network Award: Arquia Foundation set of books

The identity of the authors of the different awards will be announced at a public event. The place and time of that event will be announced on the contest website.

Intellectual Property

The authors shall conserve the intellectual property of the works presented and none of the proposals, including the award-winning ones, may be used for other purposes.

The contestants shall cede to BIA Urban Regeneration Forum solely the rights of exploitation that correspond to the purpose of the publicity of the contest and its results, namely the publication, printed in book, and exhibition of the works submitted.