In 1449 María Ortíz de Madariaga founded a religious congregation that settled in a house in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) of Bilbao. But in 1513, when the congregation numbered about 29 nuns, they decided to build a new building at the suburb of Atxuri. Thus was born the Dominican Convent of La Encarnación.
The Dominican Sisters abandoned this building in 1976. It was then when the convent suffered the passage of time and it came close to collapsing. Fortunately, thanks to the agreement signed by the Town Council of Bilbao, the Bizkaia provincial council and Bilbao´s Bishopric the building was restored and it was transformed into the headquarter of the MDAS.
The restoration and conversion involved major work. The historical appearance of the former convent has been preserved as much as possible, and in those areas which required a more intensive restoration process a dialogue between old and new has been established in such a way that the whole results in a harmonious building, achieving a peaceful environment that is also appropriate to its current function.