Tunnels and wheels
Otl Aicher's 1988 logo for Metro Bilbao
The Bilbao metro, known as Metro de Bilbao in Spanish and Bilboko Metroa in Basque, is a public transit system serving the city of Bilbao and the Greater Bilbao region. The idea of a two line Bilbao Metro connecting Atxuri station to the city's westernmost areas was first put forward in the 1920s. However, financial backing from Banco Español de Crédito fell through in 1925, leading to the project's abandonment.
The idea was picked back up in 1971 when a commission was formed to assess the city’s transportation needs, which then gained governmental support in 1974. The Biscay Transport Consortium was established in 1977 and three proposals were considered. Despite eventual approval of one, objections and disagreements halted the project.
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Later, an examination of public transportation in the Bajo Nervión Area led to a further proposal that sought to integrate both metro and railway. Previous plans were reevaluated, leading to the preparation and approval of a new one in 1987. This revised plan suggested a route closer to the surface with the intention of enhancing traveller proximity and improve station accessibility.
The first works started in late 1988. And the design for the underground stations was awarded to the British architects Sir Norman Foster and partners following an open competition. The architects then worked with renowned designer Otl Aicher to help develop a wayfinding system, overall visual language and logo for the transport system.