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National park tips: This fake tower's view is real

Contemporary trove

Spain, less burdened by the weight of history than many of its European neighbors, is now one of the best places in the world to see contemporary architecture. Besides Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which draws about a million visitors a year to the city, you can visit:

Bilbao's twisting white Zubizuri footbridge by Santiago Calatrava. Also in Bilbao: the glowing Cor-Ten steel boxes of the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall by the Spanish firm Soriano and Palacio.

In Barcelona, visit French architect Jean Nouvel's Agbar Tower, a radiant new office for the city's water company that looks like a silver bullet pierced with red, blue and black-tinted glass.

In Madrid, see Nouvel's Reina Sofía Museum extension. It has a welcome area inside that includes a cavernous open space that is basically an indoor Spanish plaza.

In San Sebastián, visit Spanish architect Rafael Moneo's rhombus-shaped Kursaal Auditorium and Congress Center (los "cubos" de Moneo), which lights up like a lantern at night.

In Valencia, visit one of Spain's top tourist attractions — Calatrava's City of Arts and Science. The futuristic city within a city was designed to celebrate the arrival of the 21st century and is one of Europe's most amazing collections of buildings.

— Sam Lubell

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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