Spanish Communications: Barcelona and Bilbao, Tower and Tunnel


Transformed into a global office, Foster Associates began to have a large proportion of its workload abroad. Hong Kong had opened up the Pacific Rim, and Nîmes would be the first significant commitment on the other side of the Channel, soon to be followed by many more in France itself, Germany and Spain. In the latter, Foster won two competitions in 1988 that would count among his most significant works. If the Air Museum and Sainsbury Centre extension had explored similar issues above and below ground, shaping a crescent tent and a crescent cave, the Collserola Tower in Barcelona and the stations of the metro of Bilbao shed unexpected light on constructions usually thought the province of civil engineers: the tower and the tunnel. The slender monumental mast of Barcelona, built for the 1992 Olympic Games, is an efficient telecommunications facility, but also a public viewing platform and a territorial landmark of prodigious inventiveness, elegance and refinement, which has already become a symbol of the city. And the exquisite concrete and steel stations of the new tube of Bilbao have a subdued brilliance that rival the inevitable clarity of the glass canopies emerging on the pavements, so popular that they have been nicknamed after the architect...[+]

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