"Starchitect" Santiago Calatrava will face legal action from his home city of Valencia over his deteriorating €100 million Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house. The breathtakingly beautiful building has been shrouded in controversy ever since its opening in 2005, when the project finished significantly over budget. Eight years later, high winds have begun to rip apart the opera house’s mosaic façade, forcing authorities to cancel performances and close the building to the public.
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.”
Via The Telegraph