Introduction to the City of Arts and Sciences by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela

This complex of buildings, a so-called city (ciudad--Spanish; ciutat--Valencian), was built at the end of the former riverbed of the Turia River. This river was drained and its course diverted to skirt the city after a devastating flood in 1957. Now a sunken park, the old riverbed has ponds, paths, fountains, cafes, athletic tracks, gardens, and allows cyclists and pedestrians to negotiate the city without the use of roads. Toward the eastern end of the riverbed is Valencia's new City of Arts and Sciences.

The riverbed; looking toward the eastern end with the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía above the trees


The futuristic educational and cultural complex was designed for Valencia by native son, Santiago Calatrava, in partnership with the older Spanish "great," Félix Candela, who designed the grouping called Oceanogràfic--a marine park and aquarium. Construction occurred over a number of years with the first stages in 1996 and the inauguration in 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisfèric. Among the last, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opened in 2005 and the Àgora, a multifunctional covered space, in 2009.

This fabulous complex of sculptural buildings has not been without controversy. The €1.2 billion cultural complex is criticized for uncontrolled cost overruns from its original €300 million cost estimation. Defenders say that the project was only a small part of the city's budget, and in any case, regenerated the parcel of land between the city and the coast, and made Valencia a travel destination. (It was for me!) In addition, one of the most recent buildings of the complex is showing signs of age: the mosaic surface of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía is cracking.

There is some confusion about titles and spelling. In Valencia a Valencian language and Spanish are spoken so buildings may sometimes have either or both names. I have organized images geographically here although sometimes they are organized by the date of origin of the building.

Index to Images of the City of Arts and Sciences
(Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)
by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela

(105 images; all of the images were photographed in 2010)

Views of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

3 pages--39 images

Views of the Walkways

11 images

Views of Pont de Montolivet

8 images

Views of the Hemisfèric

5 images

Views of the Principe Felipe Science museum

12 images

Views of the Umbracle

11 images

Views of the Suspension Bridge

7 images

Views of the Agora

3 images

Views of the Oceanográfico

10 images

Works Cited or Consulted:

Millás, Jaime. Valencia. Sant Lluis, Menorca: Triangle Postals, 2007.
Stich, Sidra. Art Sites--Spain. San Francisco: art-SITES, 2001.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.

Click here to see the home page of Bluffton College.

© 2013 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.