santiago calatrava sued by valencia for crumbling opera house
santiago calatrava sued by valencia for crumbling opera house
dec 30, 2013

santiago calatrava sued by valencia for crumbling opera house

santiago calatrava sued by valencia for crumbling opera house
all images courtesy of the architecture studio of santiago calatrava 




on october 9, 2005, the final phase of the santiago calatrava-designed ‘ciudad de las artes y las ciencias’ (the city of arts and science) in valencia opened to the public. the el palau de les arts reina sofia (the opera house and performing center) finished off the cultural site which is also home to: l’àgora (a covered plaza which hosts a variety of events); el museu de les ciènces príncipe felipe (prince philip science museum); el pont de l’assut de l’or (a suspension bridge); l’hemisfèric (planetarium);  l’oceanogràfic (open-air oceanographic park); and l’umbracle (a landscaped walkway that acts as a sculpture garden). now, 8 years after its inauguration, calatrava is under some heat from his home city who is suing him for the building’s rapid deterioration. it has been reported that pieces of the ‘white elephant’ have been crumbling off of its façade as a result of high winds, thus forcing officials to cancel performances and restrict public access to the €100 million complex until further notice. a technical report has been issued to evaluate the opera house’s current state to determine a further course of action.




santiago calatrava sued  crumbling opera house valencia designboom
approach to the opera house which has been closed due to a crumbling façade




santiago calatrava is no stranger to controversy or structural adversary. for example, his footbridge in bilbao, spain, a pathway paved in glass tiles is now blanketed by a black carpet as a result of the high number of pedestrians having slipped on its surface, his constitution bridge in venice, italy posing similar issues; and he has been sued tens of millions of dollars over the course of many of his projects which often see construction delays, and exorbitant expenses, as evidenced most recently by the PATH transportation center that he is working on near new york’s ground zero, which is 6 years behind schedule and has already doubled the original estimated budget cost since its ground breaking. 



santiago calatrava sued  crumbling opera house valencia designboom
front view



santiago calatrava sued  crumbling opera house valencia designboom
the ‘white elephant’ by night


santiago calatrava sued  crumbling opera house valencia designboom
section model


    Look more ruined projects here (it’s in spanish)

  • His “Puente da la Mujer” in Buenos Aires – Argentina is also another bad example of materials, the girls just cant walk on high heels becouse of the wood floor ! If you spend 10 mintues there you will see a lot of argentina beauties falling ! Its so sad ! Your carrer is about to crak calatrava !
    Maybe its bether you making only sculpures or models man..

    Abrazos !

  • Concrete is faulted, wood and steel and bamboo rule, even glass and stone or at best if form dictates , plastic and polymer should replace concrete.

    Great architecture is sketch-ordinated and site -assembled, ALWAYS.

    Nikhil V.
  • Solve it guys.. More vegetation to deter winds and latest bonding materials..? Must be a solution.

    Iain Campbell
  • An unbelievably beautiful building and yes the complex too.
    A most remarkable talent.

    Ron Smith
  • Truly an amazing building and complex! The issue here isn’t structural. It’s the outer skin of ceramic tiles that have become loose due to temperature extremes. They will need to be replaced with better adhesive.

    Anthony Thompson
  • If there is any “crumbling” going on (one supposes concrete or plaster) it is not likely that the architect is at fault, but rather a material and/or a material testing question related to the contractor, subcontractor and testing agency. A simple test of the material will verify this and get everyone headed in the right direction for a solution. Lawsuits will naturally follow to pay for it all however…….

    Michael Jackson
  • Soviet quality meets soviet architecture



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