City of Arts and Sciences
Valencia, Spain
1991 - 2004 (estimated)

Photos courtesy Santiago Calatrava archives

The City of Arts and Sciences is located in the dry bed of the Turia River, midway between the old city of Valencia and the coastal district of Nazaret. The architectural ensemble by Santiago Calatrava brings new focus to this previously incoherent and underdeveloped area, while linking the center city and the sea.   Nearly seven kilometers of promenades allow visitors to stroll through the complex without entering the buildings.

Calatrava won the competition for a telecommunications tower in 1991. The tower was to be constructed on the west end of the site. Later that same year he received the commission to develop the whole complex, which was to include a science museum and a planetarium.  After a change of government in 1996, the planned telecommunications tower wasreplaced by an Opera House (Palau de les Arts).

The Opera House, Planteraium/IMAX Theater (Hemispheric Theater) and Príncipe Felipe Science Museum form a linear sequence from west to east.  A fourth structure, known as L¹Umbracle, is a promenade and parking garage, built within an open arcade that is a contemporary reinvention of the winter garden.  A raised, axial walkway, offering views to the sea, serves as an ordering element, with gardens and reflecting pools on either side.

Total site area: 35 hectare

Client: Generalitat Valenciana