A small district of alternative culture
It is said that the Basques are very exaggerated, so much so that they have a peninsula inside Bilbao. This bilbainada is known as Zorrozaurre, a name which refers to its location: Zorroza, the district on the other side of the estuary and aurre, opposite, as it is limited by the Deusto Canal and the Bilbao estuary.
The peninsula was developed amidst the industrial expansion after the opening of the Deusto canal. In the 1950s there were large factories with more than 500 workers each, restaurants for the workers and traffic jams. Some years later, many of the companies went to other parts of the province, leaving an industrial area practically orphan and abandoned.
In the 1990s, the idea arose of renovating the district. Having chosen the architect Zaha Hadid, the winner of the Pritzker price architecture, and having presented and approved the project for extending the canal and building dwellings, all that remained was to wait for building to start.
This wait is what gave rise to ZAWP (Zorrotzaurre Art Working Progress), a project of the hACERIA Arteak Cultural Association. In other words, a small Soho from New York Bilbao style, which recovers the district to fill it with culture, initiatives, shows and young innovators. It is formed by five large industrial warehouses where people can stroll, enjoy urban art, visit and take part in workshops, watch a play, a concert or even take away a souvenir from the artistic bazaar.
Gómez-Álvarez , one of the creators of ZAWP, explains that “we had to take advantage of the years there the diggers would take to come to get something out of the district, to use its resources, to fill it with art and to give the city and its visitors an alternative beyond the Guggenheim and going out for a drink and a snack”. Zawp is simply what is happening between these two times. The past and the future of Zorrozaurre. For the moment it seems that things are not going badly. Hall 6, for instance, is now a space for leading stage arts in the city.
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