This building, built as a bodega or wine warehouse in the 18th century, is unassuming from the outside. Blends right in with the rest of the neighborhood. But the inside is something else altogether! In the early 20th century they gutted the building and built three brick buildings inside it, each so simple in design yet so striking in comparison to their outer shell. And they placed the inner buildings on 43 unique columns constructed of wood, brick, ceramic, stone, and metal. The collection is intended to represent “the infinity of cultures, architectures, wars, and religions man has gone through over history.” Each is beautiful in its own way.
The three inner buildings house auditoriums, concert halls, art space, restaurants, cafés, and – best of all – a three-floor media center. I used to work in a library that called itself a media center in an effort to sound more grandiose and forward-thinking. We had a few videos and books on tape. But this is a media center in the truest sense of the name. In addition to books, it contains a plethora of films and television, video, and audio recordings to browse through and listen to. The place was packed with people tucked into nooks and crannies and taking advantage of this amazing resource. Can’t blame them. If I lived in Bilbão, this is where I’d be.