Ambitious plan to build a campus for the Polytechnic University of South Florida. Problem: there was only enough money to complete one building…
Changes were made and Calatrava´s share reduced to one central building that is on schedule and set to open this year without any cost overrun.
The following are crude notes and links I have gathered during my research. The information may be in various languages and is being updated during the research process until a full article is written.
The $100 million project here, however, has gone smoothly, according to those involved in it.
“We’ve had only a positive experience with Santiago,” said contractor Pete Karamitsanis, president of Lighthouse Advisors Inc. “We haven’t had any cost overruns, and our project is on schedule.”
The first thing he said when we met on the construction site was, “This project is both buildable and affordable and shows that a building like this can be done without controversy. We’re on time and on budget.”
That means that the building will be mostly finished in June, faculty will move in July and students arrive in August for the university’s first term.
Calatrava´s wife has written an angry letter to a politician who´s critical about the choice for Calatrava who is too expensive an artist:
“He’s been over budget on every project he’s ever done,” Temple said. “I don’t see where he’s even done a college campus.”
In her letter Miss Calatrava listed the campuses her husband has designed and planned according to her: Maastricht University in Maastricht, Holland (in reality this was abandoned because too much over budget); Universita degli Studi di Roma — Tor Vergata, in Rome (campus unsure but sports project abandoned); Yuan Ze University in Taoyuan, Taiwan (only planned); and Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias in Valencia, Spain (waaaaay over budget and not exactly a campus).
Strangely enough no journalists have caught on to the dubious claims made by the architects wife; her examples seem to prove the exact point her opponent Temple is making.
“It is simply not true that every building we have ever designed is over budget,” Calatrava said. And, she said, he was not dismissed from the Denver International Airport project. “We are not responsible for establishing the budget for either the USF Polytechnic campus nor the Science and Technology building,” Calatrava said. “Those budgets were established by the university. We are, however, responsible for, and contractually required to design to the established budget, which we are doing.”
“We intend to build a masterpiece by the greatest architect of this century,” he gushed.
But big visions don’t come cheap. Fees for Calatrava’s firm, which has designed stadiums, bridges and rail stations worldwide, is $7.44 million. The YouTube video alone cost USF $140,000.
The design of Calatrava’s signature structure at USF Poly, the Science and Technology building, is still being tweaked. It won’t be unveiled to the public until late this year, perhaps during a November fundraiser on the site.
But it is already 36 percent bigger than originally planned. And while school officials say the cost will be less than comparable facilities on other campuses, statewide data suggest otherwise.
In all, USF Poly officials estimate it will take $90 million to $100 million to build the initial structure and prepare the site for future construction. And already there’s a budget shortfall, the head of construction acknowledged last week.
There is enough money for the first building, but not enough to complete the campus infrastructure, as had been hoped.
The designed building´s roof can open and close. Similar ideas have been Calatrava desasters before: Agora (Valencia) wings are wasting away on a near wasteland, never placed on the unfinished, leaking building. WTC transport hub (New York): moving parts were removed from design because of the cost (and uselessness). Obelisc (Madrid), moving spire that is never set into motion because of the enormous maintenance costs.
In theory its a brilliant idea to have a roof that opens to the sky like a … (fill in your favourite symbolism on the dots, everything goes). It´s just a pity that in theory practice and theory are the same but in practice they are not…