City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)

FROM The man in the front seat / March 30, 2014

Situated in the old Turia riverbed, which was drained and re-routed when it flooded in 1957, is the massive 350,000m² City of Arts and Sciences. More than 4 million people pass through each, a figure that in Spain is only surpassed by the Prado Museum in Madrid. Designed by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candala, the project was begun in July 1991 and the last component, The Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts (El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia), opened on October 8 2005.

The Buildings

L’Hemisferic

Was the first building bulit as part of the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences)to the design of Santiago Calatrava. The entire structure has a surface of 130,000m² (155,500 yd²) and is now includes a Planetarium, Laserium and an Imax cinema.

Without doubt the centrepiece of The City of Arts and Sciences, as well as the first building built, in 1998. It is designed in the shape of a human eyelid that opens and gives access to the surrounding pool. The pool is 110m (360ft) long and exactly half that distance 55.5m (180ft) wide. The bottom of the pool is glass creating the illusion of the eye as a whole.

Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe (Prince Philip Museum of Sciences)

Designed to represent the skeleton of a whale the structure occupies  a total area 42,000m² (50,200yd²) and today is an interactive museum of sciences (26,000m²) built over 3 floors making it the largest exhibition space in Spain. The building itself is 220m (720ft) long and 80m (262ft) wide and 55m (180ft) high and built using 14,000 tons of steel and 58,000m³ of concrete. The amount glass alone is impressive with 4000 panes making a total of 20,000m² (24,000yd²).

L’Umbracle (The Shade)

Is a landscaped walk with plants that are indigenous to Valencia. it als)o holds a Walk of Sculptures with works by Yoko Ono, Francesc Abbot amongst others. Its was designed to be the entrance to The City with plants carefully chosen so that they change colour with the seasons.

L’Oceanogràphic (the Oceanographic)

the Oceanographic is the largest aquarium in Europe at 110,000m² (131,000yd²) and holding more than 42 million litres (9.3 million gal) of water. The water is pumped directly from La Malvarrosa beach after being cleaned and treated. The building is the work of Félix Candala and is designed in the shape of a water lily. More than 45,000 animals  of 500 different species are housed here including dolphins, sharks and beluga whales all inhabiting 9 underwater towers.

Palacio de las Artes Reina Sophia (Queen Sophia Palace of Arts)

The building today is an opera house and a performing arts centre. Opened in 2005, the first opera performed was Beethoven’s  Fidelio on the 25 October 2006. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the building rises 14 stories which includes 3 stories below ground. The feather on the roof is 230m (755ft) long and 70m (230ft) of the ground. The two white shells supporting it made of concrete and covered in metal shells weighing 3000 tons each. The shells are 163m (535ft) wide and long. Inside are 4 separate theatres; the Main Hall (1700 people), the Master Hall (400 people), the Auditorium (1500 people) and the Martin y Soler Theatre (400 people).

The building suffered several incidents during its initial productions. In 2006 the stage collapsed during a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovani. In 2007 floods  saw almost 2m (7ft) of water flood the recently re-built stage wrecking motors of stage equipment and general electronics.

L’ Agora

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, is  covered plaza which holds sport events, such as the Valencia Open, concerts, exhibitions and conventions. Officially opened in November 2009, the building wasn’t completely finished, and depending on the configuration a capacity of up to 6000 people. The building stands 80m (262ft) high and has area of 5000m² (6000yd²).

El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or (The Golden Weir)

This suspension bridge is the highest point in Valencia going up to 125m (410ft) high.

City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)
The City of Arts and Sciences. L'Hemisferic y Palacio de les Arts Reina Sophia
The City of Arts and Sciences. Prince Felipe Museum of Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences. L'Umbracle
The City of Arts and Sciences. l'Oceanográfic
City of Arts and Sciences. The Queen Sophia Palace of Arts
The City of Arts and Sciences. l'Agora y Pony l'Assut de l'Or
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