Plaza Euskadi connects the nineteenth century section of the city called “El Ensanche” to the new section of Bilbao, Deusto university campus, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Nervión River. The Plaza emerges as a pivot point that unifies various built elements of the city. Apart from the Museum of Fine Arts and historic residential buildings, the plaza is surrounded by contemporary buildings such as university and library buildings, a shopping mall, a subway station, hotels, residential buildings, and an office skyscraper, designed by architects including Gehry, Moneo, Pelli, Siza, Krier, Legorreta, and Stern.
A direct central path focuses the urban movement that spreads through the plaza, fusing together the surrounding landscape, while the tree-lined perimeter path of the oval form allows for varying circulation and more leisurely sitting. Three public park “pockets” hook onto the sides of the central path, which provide colorful and playful seating made from recycled rubber. Each pocket has a different character: an amphitheater section with reflection puddles, an ottoman seating section, and a “garden” section of flowering shrubs and a 100 year old Laegostremia tree at its entrance.
In 2008 the construction of the plaza was impacted by the economic downturn in Spain leading to a complete re-design. The final design cost was a sixth of the original construction budget which required the removal of fountains, a more modest planting and grading scheme, and a shift in materials.