COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS, Bilbao Architects, Spanish Buildings, Madrid Design Studio, Office


Contemporary Architect Practice, Bilbao + Madrid, Spain

post updated 14 Apr 2021


1 Oct 2013 – INGLASS Warsaw 2014 – guest speakers include
– arch. Juan Coll-Barreu, Coll-Barreu Arquitectos, Spain

14 Jun 2013 – Three buildings located in Bilbao (Spain) recently finished by this architecture studio:

Policemen House, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Date built: 2012
Policemen House Bilbao by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS
photo : Aleix Bagué
Offices, Labs, Infrastructure
From the site dense urban length is visible, squeezed on the narrow and deep banks of the river. Also visible is the green landscape, with water and vertical slopes that confine the city and compress it against the estuary.
The rainy atmosphere seems to lie dormant on the site. The land, the nearby hills, the city in front and below, the mountains from the opposite bank and even the moist air come together in an almost complete continuity, as if they were the same subject.

photo : Aleix Bagué

Policemen House’s concatenated planes are perceived from distant areas and set up a close relationship with the steep topography of the slope.
The building accommodates the central Public Safety services for a one million people urban area.
Probably, both houses could be not only metaphorically interchangeable through their high cord.

Firemen House, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Firemen House Bilbao design by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS Firemen House Bilbao
Offices, Infrastructure
The soil itself is unstable. It is uncertain. It is the result of having quickly filled an open mine, with pits up to 50 m deep, which formed a cavernous place in its physical reality and its memory.
Upstream, other mine sites have been transformed, also visible from the site, which confirm the history of this exchange between matter and soil, the life of the city and that of men, the densification of the territory and the air. Above this vacillating place, buildings do not have any mass. Folded aluminum sheets acquire enough inertia to be supported in the air.
The inner areas of the Firemen House are emptied towards the valley. At the same time, like the old fire stations, they take the public presence of the building to a new and large urban square.
The building accommodates the central Civil Protection services for a one million people urban area.
In these buildings, there is still a reference to some industrial constructions, those building-machines or process decanters that have transformed the history of the city and set off the lives of its people.

Textured Tower, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Textured Tower Bilbao by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS Textured Tower Bilbao
Sport, Community
A vertical decision. The tower at its plant intensifies the vertical folds. It is compressed to not fill the air, as the “thin figures” of Giacometti.
Inside, the tower is extremely tough and Spartan, built with concrete and galvanized or lacquered steel. Multiple mobile filters separate the outside of the interior through deep apertures.
Concrete formwork has been hoisted and assembled with industrialized procedures but the external molds have been handmade, so each point of the surface responds to a manual activity, then the envelope feels to be alive.

20 + 14 Jun 2012


English text:
A theoretical project completed by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS: Buildingman. “…He is perhaps better full of windows, open. He is so a human mountain full of people. He is the city against itself, which has already acquired the form of man by dint of losing the identity of monument, of building, of house, of Architecture…”

New images:

Buildingman by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS Buildingman Buildingman

Spanish text:
Un proyecto teórico de COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS: Buildingman. “…Quizá es mejor repleto de ventanas, abierto. Es así una montaña humana llena de habitantes. La ciudad contra sí misma, que ya ha adquirido la forma de hombre a fuerza de perder la identidad de monumento, de edificio, de casa, de Arquitectura…”

Buildingman by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS Buildingman Building Buildingman Building design

Basque Health Department Headquarters in Bilbao, north east Spain

Basque Health Department Headquarters Bilbao Building
photo : Aleix Bagué
Basque Health Department Headquarters
The new Basque Health Department headquarters is located at the last site that still remained unbuilt on the administrative and Business Center of Bilbao. Up to now, the institution was suffering the spread of its staff in several buildings, hardly recognizable by citizens, away from each other and uncomfortable for both users and technical services.

La Peña Multi-Sport Pavilion, north east Spain
photo : Aleix Bagué
La Peña Multi-Sport Pavilion
La Peña is one of the areas that suffered more from Bilbao’s post-industrial restructuring. For most of the twentieth century, the area was an open pit mining surrounded by dwellings for workers. The city keeps its shape of a narrow and curve bank between an open cast mining and a natural abrupt slope hillside, profoundly affected by the industrialization. The sport complex must support the social transformation of the zone and it is actually the only public facility of the neighborhood.

E8 Building, Alava, Vitoria, northeast Spain
photo : Aleix Bagué
E8 Building
The E8 Building was the result of an ideas competition.
It is an office building, linked to the presence of the hill forest, in apparent homage to the natural environment of Technology Park of Alava, Vitoria, Basque Country, north east Spain.


Featured Buildings by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS, alphabetical:

City of Jaca Hockey Arena Building, Huesca, north east Spain
City of Jaca Hockey Arena Building
photo : Aleix Bagué
City of Jaca Hockey Arena
The City of Jaca Hockey Arena has been the most representative facility of the European Youth Olympic Festival of Jaca 2007, the first Olympic event in the Pyrenees.
Two ice rinks allow the pavilion to celebrate hockey, figure skating, short track and curling competitions, being simultaneously a recreational ice center. The building has reinforced the relevance of the ice in the city of Jaca.

Software & Biotechnology Plant, Derio, Bilbao, north east Spain
Software and Biotechnology plant Bilbao
photo : Aleix Bagué
Planta de Software y Biotecnología
New building, Software and Biotechnology plant in Parque Tecnológico of Derio, Bilbao, Spain. This is an industrial complex, close to Bilbao, done as a result of two idea competitions. The Technology Park is a center of high technology industries turns 25 in 2010. For guidelines last phase of industrial growth decided to build two new buildings for research and production, respectively, computing and biotechnology. Both of them should work in complete independence, although the plan was considered in a unified way.

More architectural projects by COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS online soon

Location: Vizcaya, Bilbao, Spain

Spanish Architects Practice Information

COLL-BARREU ARQUITECTOS is an architect studio based in Bilbao + Madrid, Spain

COLL‐BARREU ARQUITECTOS is an architectural studio dedicated to investigation, development and construction of architectural projects. COLL‐BARREU ARQUITECTOS also participates in university teaching and theoretical aspects of Architecture, culture, art and communication. The firm, founded in 2001 by Juan Coll‐Barreu (born in Huesca, 1968; Ph D architect; Universty of Navarre and UCLA, Los Ángeles; Special Prize Thesis Award, National University College Completion Award) and Daniel Gutiérrez Zarza (born in San Sebastián, 1972; architect; University of Navarre), has offices in Bilbao and Madrid.

COLL‐BARREU ARQUITECTOS supports a dynamic process that transforms the dialog about the project into the principal quality of its work system. All its projects and theoretical production have been published by several magazines and also displayed at Nuevos Ministerios Exhibition Center, Conde Duque Civic Center (Madrid), the MACBA, Congress Centre (Barcelona), many Spanish Architects Associations Headquarters, Fine Arts Museum and several showrooms in Bilbao, the first city that dedicated to Juan Coll‐Barreu a monographic exhibition (2001). Its works comprise The Data Processing Center in Bilbao, the Air Traffic Control Center in Madrid, built to control the Galileo satellite network, the Jaca Ice Arena for the first Olympic event in the Pyrenees and the Basque Health Department in Bilbao. Among its theoretical works it is noteworthy the project “Los Ángeles 10 paradigmas”, about the modern architecture in the Los Ángeles area.

Juan Coll‐Barreu is professor at the Department of Architectural Design in the Madrid School of Architecture (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain). He is also a frequent lecturer in other universities and institutions. Among other prizes, he has won the Architecture COAVN prize, the International VETECO‐ASAFAVE prize and he has been awarded as finalist at Architecture FAD Prize twice. He also has been selected for the Spanish Young Architects Show 1982‐2002, and has won the VII Spanish Young Architects Exhibition (1999‐2001), in which framework he was awarded the Honor Mention of Antonio Camuñas Foundation, that acknowledges the best under‐40 architect.

Nowadays, COLL‐BARREU ARQUITECTOS develops and rise buildings for public and private purposes in different places and scales, and, at the same time, continues its labor of theoretical investigation. Its projects are strongly present in the Internet and electronic media and are increasingly published in Asian architectural books and magazines.

The firm is nominated to the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture ‐ Mies van der Rohe Award 2009 and has been honored at the Construmat Prizes and doubly honored at the Xth Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism.


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