City of Arts & Sciences…the unexpected economic result

It is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex in Valencia (Spain), situated at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela, and the project underwent the first stages of construction in July 1996 and the finished “city” was inaugurated the 16th of April 1998, opening of L’Hemisferic.

The context is made up of the following buildings: L’Hemispheric, El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Oceanographic, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, El Puente de l’Assut de l’Or, L’Agora & The Valencia Towers.

In 1989, Joan Lerma (the president of the Valencian Generality), took up the idea of Jose María López Piñeiro, a professor of the history of science at the University of Valencia, to build a scientific museum on the land of the Garden of the Turia River that bordered the road. Lerma entrusted the creation of a team that articulated the project and that visited spaces with similar characteristics in Munich, Canada and London, to devise a project of evident pedagogical appearance.

The City of the Sciences was the name that the autonomous government gave to the initiative, and plans included a 370 meters high communications tower, which would have been the third highest one in the world at that time; a planetarium; and the museum of science. The total prince of the works was estimated to be about 150 million €.

In May 1991, the council approved the transfer of lands. Four months later the project was presented, designed by Santiago Calatrava. And the construction phase began by the end of 1994. The team that had designed the museum did not see eye to eye with the form in which Santiago Calatrava conceived the building. Therefore, a couple of changes were made.

In April 1998 the complex opened its doors to the public with L’Hemisferic. Eleven months later, Eduardo Zaplana (the president of Valencia) inaugurated the Principe Felipe Museum of the Sciences, although the museum was not yet finished. The museum was opened to the public twenty months later. December 12, 2002 was the opening of L’Oceanographic, the largest aquarium built in Europe. Finally, on October 8, 2005 the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia was opened and became the opera house of Valencia.

Here is the link to an article about the end of the project: “Punto y final a la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias”

The project did however cause controversy, because there was a HUGE difference between the predicted cost of the Project and the real one. It was 4 times more than the initial one, resulting by 625 million Euros. There are lots of newspaper articles related to this issue, and here is one of them

Also, it is important to highlight that the progress of the tower’s design was not as good as it was expected, and this issue was also noticed via newspapers and media. Calatrava was accused of receiving 2.6 million euros before doing this project and other two payments of 6.4 million euros. Finally the project was not finished.

However, nowadays the City of Arts and Sciences is a very important point in Spain which attract lots of tourism every year, and it is an interesting point in order to increase the scientific knowledge.

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