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Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

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MUGAK starts its second edition with the aim of deepening the links between Art and Architecture in the three main cities of the Basque Country

  • The Basque Country International Architecture Biennial will open on Thursday with the prize-giving ceremony of the Peña Ganchegui Awards to Young Basque Architecture.
  • This week, both museums Guggenheim Bilbao and Artium will hold conferences related to architecture, art, urban planning and landscape.
  • In San Sebastian, four art galleries will host the series “Connections: Art and Architecture”.

The second edition of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial MUGAK will start this week with free activities linking art and architecture in the three main cities of the Basque Country. The Biennial, which will take place from the 10th of October to the 12th of December, seeks to bring architecture closer to the citizenry and to promote reflection and connections with other disciplines.

In this sense, the first days of the MUGAK programme, organised in the three main cities of the Basque Country, will highlight precisely the spaces that art and architecture share in their journey.

On one hand, the Artium Museum of Vitoria will hold the conference “Creación. Ciudad. Paisaje” [Creation. City. Landscape], which will start off on the 9th of October with the photographer Begoña Zubero and her reflection on the human footprint on the landscape. The main conference, on Thursday 10th, will welcome the artist Maider López -well known for her interventions in public spaces-, the Catalan architects Anna&Eugeni Bach, Bet Capdeferro and Grupo Aranea. On Friday, the architects Inma Jansana and Eduardo Rojo will close the series organised by the Professional Association of Basque-Navarre Architects (COAVN) in Alava. Attendance to this free conference requires registration by calling the phone number 945 20 90 20.

In San Sebastián, the four main art galleries –Ekain Artelanak, Altxerri, Kur and Arteko- will participate in the series “Conexiones: Arte y arquitectura” [Conections: art and architecture], curated by Fernando Golvano. In this framework, they will host several eclectic exhibitions analysing an array of topics: from individualism in the detached houses of Springville (USA) to ephemeral architecture and a series of engravings paying tribute to the Bauhaus, which celebrates its Centennial this year. The exhibitions will open this Friday with a tour visiting all of them that will start at the gallery Ekain Artelanak at 19:00 h.

This Friday, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, through its initiative TopARTE, will host a conference organised by COAVN Bizkaia entitled “Diálogos en torno al proceso creativo de la arquitectura contemporánea” [Dialogues about the creative process of contemporary architecture]. It will explain to the public what is behind designs, using the examples of the new lecture room of the University of Bambey in Senegal (by IDOM), the building of the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country Musikene (by Atxurrazelaieta Arquitectos) and the restoration of the psychiatric hospital in Pamplona (by Vaillo+Irigaray).

MUGAK curator, Pedro Astigarraga, emphasises that this edition of MUGAK “intends to be an art, culture and architecture festival, a plural and multicultural meeting point for dialogue, debate and reflection about architecture and its limits, as its name indicates[1]”.

Biennial’s Opening Ceremony on Thursday 10th

The Biennial, organised by the Department of Environment, Regional Planning and Housing of the Basque Government, will be opened this Thursday, 10th of October, at the Basque Country Architecture Institute, with the presence of the President of the Basque Government Iñigo Urkullu and other authorities.

In the same ceremony, the Peña Ganchegui Award for Young Basque Architecture will be bestowed. This prize gives recognition to professionals with less than a decade of experience who are contributing to and promoting architectural culture. The winner will be announced that same day. Their project, as well as those of the finalists, will be exhibited at the Basque Country Architecture Institute, located in the Santa Teresa convent in San Sebastian, until the 12th of December.


The Basque Country International Architecture Biennial seeks to bring architecture closer to citizenry and to become a meeting point for dialogue, debate and reflection with the aim of shaping better, more balanced and fair cities. Its activities, organised by twenty partner organisations, will take place in the three main cities of the Basque Country and include hundred exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, workshops and guided tours.

[1] Translator’s note: MUGAK means “limits” in Basque language.

The Programme is being prepared