Barrio de Indautxu

Indautxu auzoa

Indautxu neighborhood

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Indautxu is a Bilbao neighborhood that forms part of the Abando district. It was integrated into the township in 1890, with the definitive incorporation of the parish of the same name. 

In 1870 Bilbao succeeded in annexing the area of the Abando parish that it needed for developing the first Expansion. When the latter was approved in 1876, the limit between the two municipalities was established on San Mamés Avenue. Abando moved its town hall to the Plaza de la República (La Casilla), which together with areas of Zugastinovia and Ametzola became the center of its new population nucleus. Immediately afterwards, different houses with gardens were built in the Indautxu area, the area closest to the Expansion District. Their owners included Guezala, the painter, Daniel Escondrillas, the master builder, and Manuel Allende himself.

From 1907 onwards this area of Indautxu was included in the extension of the Expansion District designed by Frederico Ugalde, but it had a specific characteristic that differentiated it from all the other areas: there was prior planning. This involved a private sub-division of land, based on a previously existing street (Gordoniz) and a large property, the La Alberca Mayor estate of the Allende family.

This private sub-division was defined and approved by the municipality of Abando prior to its definitive annexation in 1890, and its influential property owners ensured that it was upheld in later projects. The central stretch opened onto the small Bombero Echaniz Square, where a very simple grid of four streets intersected (Egaña, Aureliano Valle,  Marcelino Oreja and Pérez Galdós). In addition, there was another street that was set slightly apart from the previous ones: the private Allende road, nowadays Manuel Allende. This was where the first houses intended for the developer’s four children were constructed: María, Carmen, Plácido and José Allende Plágaro; all the houses were designed by Severino Achúcarro in 1898-1999.

The group had its own internal logic, and was connected with evident difficulties to the main adjacent streets: San Mamés Avenue, Autonomía, Gregorio de la Revilla and Indautxu Square. During the first decades of the XX century private residences were built: a total of nine on Manuel Allende Street, and as many as eighteen on Gordoniz and San Mamés Avenue. This was an elegant residential area with gardens, which continued the tradition of the Campo Volantín residential area and competed with the contemporaneous areas of Getxo (Neguri and Las Arenas).

The connection between the developer’s family and Leonardo Rucabado, an architect from Santander, enabled the latter to realize some of the most important constructions of his first period. Outstanding were the principal public buildings of the area: the Carmen Church (1907-1908) in neo-gothic style; the neo-Mudejar bullring of Indautxu, commissioned by the Marquis of Villagodio in 1908; and the Indautxu sports fields (1908-1909), which included a fronton, tennis courts, a polo field, a skating rink and a banquet hall.

All of these have disappeared or have been transformed. The same can be said of the residential architecture, which was severely affected by the speculation of the 1950s and 1960s. Nowadays, only Tomás Allende’s house on the corner of Simón Bolivar with Aureliano Valle is still partially standing. It was used to as the rectorate of the University of the Basque Country.

José María Beascoechea


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