Lucy Wang

Santiago Calatrava to Face Legal Action as Valencia's "White Elephant" Opera House Falls Apart

by , 01/02/14
filed under: Architecture, Art, gallery



Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Santiago Calatrava, opera house, white elephant, City of Arts and Sciences, trencadis, mosaic tiles, laminated steel, Calatravatelaclava, Ignacio Blanco, performance hall

Built as the centerpiece to the spectacular City of Arts and Sciences complex, the futuristic Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is one of Spain’s most iconic buildings as well as the world’s tallest opera house. The curved-roof structure is divided into four separate multi-purpose venues that accommodate programming from political rallies to contemporary dance. White concrete and shimmering white mosaic tiles, or trencadis, coat the two laminated steel shells flanking the elevated, metallic feather roof.

Structural setbacks, from stage collapses to flooding, have plagued the building since its 2005 opening and continue to rack up steep repair and maintenance costs. Frustrated by the high expenses, local politician Ignacio Blanco has even created a website called Calatravatelaclava–loosely translated as “Calatrava bleeds you dry”–to point out the myriad problems, such as the 150 seats in the venue with obstructed views. Last Friday, a government spokesman announced that Valencia will pursue legal action against Calatrava for the “construction defects.”

+ Santiago Calatrava

Via The Telegraph

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4 Comments

  1. annecelest January 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Perhaps they could run an Opera House Lottery to cover the costs of repair rather than blaming and going down the lengthy Legal road.

  2. RickBoychuk January 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Theatres have became sculptures for the aggrandizement of cities and architects. The egos of the Valencia city fathers got the better of them when they selected this architect’s proposal. Which is responsible for this debacle; city or architect.

    Being a theatre practitioner, I wonder if it actually functions as a theatre should; form vs function, you know.

  3. Yiorgos Patroklou January 3, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Beautiful? More like a weak attempt at copying the perfection which is the Sydney Opera House

  4. deon marais January 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I cant see why the architect should be blamed for what is obviously a builders incompetence.

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