contemporary architecture in valencia

The City of Arts and Sciences

The breathtaking City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) is the most important tourist sightseeing in Valencia and also the main destination for photographers heading to this lovely Spanish city. The City of Arts and Sciences is a large entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex mostly designed by the worldwide famous locally born architect, Santiago Calatrava.

This giant and stunning complex covering some 350,000 square meters is the Europe’s largest cultural centre. It consists of a series of aesthetically futuristic structures surrounded by huge and shallow pools. It was created at the end of last century right next to the riverbed of River Turia which was drained and then rerouted after the disastrous flood that inundated Valencia in 1957. Since that catastrophic event, the old riverbed has been turned into a 9-kilometer long lovely park, an authentic and welcome lung of green for the city of Valencia.

Every single iconic building thought and designed clearly adopts an organic form. The Hemisfèric interactive science museum looks like a stretching giant whale skeleton while the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía arts complex seems to brood over the former riverbed like a giant beetle in its impressive shell shimmering with translucent mosaic tiles.
Calatrava’s striking project is mainly the result of his technical and engineering brilliance that provided the basis for his pioneering concrete, steel and glass creations. His striking project fuse the arts and sciences together into dynamic organic forms and dramatic spaces. He designed this complex by having in mind the bright dynamism between blanched curves and rhythmic visual patterns of every single structure. By framing with the camera every single shape of the buildings seems to complement each other and even merge into a harmonic unity. By changing angle and perspective, the City of Arts and Sciences truly becomes a precious laboratory for developing the photographer’s creativity at best by discovering and framing new and different geometrical lines, elegant curves, contrastful light and shadows. If you are into urban photography, then you can spend a whole day by challenging and experiencing new and creative shots at every angle of the City of Arts and Sciences.

Despite all the recognized international acclaim for its futuristic architecture, the complex has not completely escaped criticism by the way. Originally budgeted at €300 million, the City of Arts and Sciences, at the end, has cost nearly three times the initial expected amount. Not to mention the various design flaws that have necessitated major repairs in the last few years. Valencians still now complain about the enormous expenses for realizing the complex but, at the sale time, they must thank also this impressive Calatrava’s creation if their beautiful city became a major international tourist destination. Also for photographers.



Stefano Politi Markovina