Barra da Tijuca Bridge – Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

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 project for a metro-bridge (to be finished in 2015) was first assigned to Santiago Calatrava, the local government decided not to continue building the Calatrava design because it “did not meet criteria for optimizing costs and on-time delivery that should be associated with a public project”. Were Brazilians afraid Calatrava would not stay within the agreed budget and that the bridge would not be finished in time?

In a lawsuit against critical website (following the lawsuit now Calatrava blamed the website and its echo in international news media for the loss of the contract. In his opinion the website had unjustly damaged his image which had lead to Calatrava losing the Tijuca project. Obviously a negative image is a cause of concern for any star-architect however one may ask if it is the website that caused this negative image or if it was caused by Calatrava´s track record. Isn´t Calatrava blaiming the messenger for the bad news?

Ponte-estaiada-1 Ponte-estaiada-2


Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía – Valencia (ESP)

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. 


Only 9 years after its official opening the 500 million € Palau looks as if it had been through a war.


Studies hold the design of architect Santiago Calatrava responsible for the building´s bad state. According to Aidico, the technological institute of construction,  The institute points to an incorrect design and choice of materials or construction errors or both. According to an internal report Calatrava was responsible for both the design and its execution, for which he received 44 million €.

Due to its bad state the building has been closed since December 2013. The architect has offered to pay for the repair of the damages. Some, however, wonder if the repair of a deficient design is a lasting solution for the Palau´s problems. Opposition politicians urge the local government to take legal action against Calatrava, following the example of the cities of Oviedo and Venice.

It is incredible that while some buildings of the ambitious Valencian City of Arts project have not yet been officially completed (the Agora is still waiting for its wings that lay abandoned on a nearby wasteland) others already fall into decay.


Proud buddies Calatrava and president Camps at the Palau´s opening in 2005.


After the building´s grand opening in 2005 it remained closed for one year. The building contains four opera halls, one of which has never been used. Another has been closed because of bad acoustics (mozaique walls turned the hall into what must have sounded like a large public lavatory), and yet another has seen 200 seats removed because from their position the stage was not sufficiently visible.


Calatrava and local president Camps looking for a seat from which they can see the stage.

Valencia’s opera house opened eight years ago. Since then, the City of Arts and Sciences has added significantly to Valencia’s mountain of debt, at a time when Spain has been struggling on the front line of the euro crisis. Originally budgeted at €300 million, the complex — the world’s largest collection of Mr. Calatrava’s work, which also includes a performance hall, a bridge, a planetarium, and a science museum — ended up costing three times as much. Mr. Calatrava was paid about €94 million for the project.

By geenwoordspaans Posted in Notes

University of South Florida (USA)


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…

Trinity Bridges – Dallas (USA)


Three bridges across the Trinity River designed by Calatrava in Dallas (USA).

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (opened 2012)

Margaret McDermott Bridge (2014 now rescheduled to 2017)

No data on third bridge

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. 


$798 million – Total cost of the Horseshoe project to reconstruct the Interstate 30 and Interstate 35 bridges over the Trinity River, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed bicycle and pedestrian bridges alongside I-30.

$114.9 million – Cost of the Santiago Calatrava-designed bicycle and pedestrian bridges ($102.9 million) and frontage roads ($12 million).

$74 million – Original planned cost for construction of Calatrava bridges.

$91.3 million – Federal funds available to cover cost of Calatrava bridges and frontage roads.

$11.6 million – Regional Transportation Council Funds for Calatrava Bridges and frontage roads

$12 million – Funding gap expected to be covered through $5 million Trinity Trust Foundation gift, money from city’s public arts fund and through cost-cutting

Issue: the state of Texas wants the three bridges for their functionality and to replace old decaying roads. The city of Dallas has its mind set on signature bridges to give this part of the town a different look. The city however does not have the money for this.

The Margaret McDermott Bridge, the second signature bridge, was originally scheduled to begin construction in 2011 with a completion date of 2014. However, as of December 2011, this bridge is now funded within the Project Pegasus initiative with construction contracts to be awarded in mid-2012; the new plan will feature ‘toned-down’ elements of its original arch design. Calatrava is still scheduled to perform design work.

city of dallas to decide on mcdermott bridge: does it want the 114 million version of a 74 million version that is less fancy but has the same functionality. the original plan by calatrava was even more expensive, including motorized traffic as well as pedestrians and cyclists. the current plan has been reduced to only pedestrians and cyclists.

The current $114 million I-30 plan was reduced to just hike and bike bridges along side a standard state roadway because the original Calatrava design was far more than the city could afford.

Griggs said the scaled down plan is still around $40 million more than it was to have been.

The cost overruns this early in the process are outrageous. These bridges can be very expensive when they’re designed by Santiago Calatrava and we don’t want these to be blank check,” Griggs said.

the city council decided to go through with the 144 million usd version of the project:

The rest of the City Council voted in favor of a plan to close the $12 million gap by accepting a $5 million contribution from the Trinity Trust, transferring several million from other city bond funds and seeking “value engineering” savings from Calatrava and the contractor.

– the city council in its decision actually counts on calatrava to reduce costs. That would be a first in Calatrava history

Bridges look identical to Reggio Emilia bridges in Italy

Recinto Ferial – Tenerife (ESP)


Year: 1995

Cost: 15 million € over budget

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.



Calatrava se desmarca de cualquier responsabilidad en las grietas del recinto

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE (REDACCIÓN). El arquitecto e ingeniero Santiago Calatrava, diseñador del recinto ferial de la capital tinerfeña, aseguró ayer que no ha intervenido directamente en el proceso constructivo del edificio, por lo que no puede pronunciarse sobre «el origen, alcance y consecuencias de las deficiencias detectadas».

Calatrava remitió ayer un comunicado a los medios de comunicación en el que elude sus eventual responsabilidad en la aparición de grietas y fisuras en la sala multiusos del recinto, si bien asegura estar en contacto «tanto con la empresa constructora como con el Cabildo Insular de Tenerife y los ingenieros de Martínez Segovia, a los que he ofrecido mi asesoramiento para colaborar en la solución».

En su comunicado, el arquitecto indica que en 1992 la empresa Cubierta y Mzov., SA contactó con su oficina para colaborar en el concurso de proyecto y obra de la recinto ferial de muestras de Tenerife y que dicha colaboración quedó formalizada en un contrato en el que se estipuló que su prestación de servicios «se ceñía única y exclusivamente al diseño arquitectónico (anteproyecto)».

Una vez que el Cabildo otorgó el primer premio a la propuesta presentada, continúa Calatrava, la empresa constructora contrató los servicios de ingeniería de la empresa Martínez Segovia, Fernández Pallás y Asociados SA para llevar a cabo los cálculos de estructura de hormigón y metálicas. Asimismo, se contrató a la empresa IGS para el desarrollo de las instalaciones, mientras que su despacho desarrollaba los planos de diseño arquitectónico.

En el escrito, Calatrava recuerda que una vez obtenida la aprobación por parte del Cabildo, la dirección de obra se llevó a cabo por los servicios técnicos de la propia Corporación, «siendo el director de la obra el arquitecto Joaquín Amigó y el aparejadore Manzano». Añade, asimismo, que durante la fase de ejecución de la obra, el alcance del trabajo a realizar por su parte era la «asistencia en obra»

The news (Venice) has prompted one local party here to urge Santa Cruz and the Tenerife Cabildo to follow suit and take action against the architect for the bills for the city’s Recinto Ferial exhibition centre and the nearby Auditorium concert hall. According to the ANC party, the cost overruns on each (€15 million for the former and nearly 50 million for the latter) should be recovered from Calatrava, using the Venice action as legal precedent.

Tor Vergata – Rome (IT)


(Image courtesy of )

Project for new venues to host the 2009 World Championships swimming. The project was abandoned before completion. The half finished buildings that cost Italy 250 million € lay abandoned in the fields outside Rome.

Budget: 320 million €

Cost at moment of abandon: 250 million €

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. 

8tor_vergata tor vergata

Opera – Luzern (CH)


Plan for a “floating” opera in Lake Luzern (CH). The above is one of the original drawings by Calatrava dated 1989 of the project that was presented for competition but did not win.

Calatrava presented the exact same project in 2007 as a floating opera for Palma de Mallorca (ESP) for which he received 1,2 million € of public money. Again the project was not carried out.

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. 

project that was never built and was presented years later by Calatrava as a project for the opera de palma that Calatrava received a lot of money for even though it was never built.

project uit 1989 ter ere van 700 jarig bestaan van zwitserland. Project is nooit gebouwd en werd door calatrava opnieuw gebruikt voor de palma arena, die er ook nooit kwam.

La revista “El Croquis” publicó en 1992 un número monográfico sobre Calatrava, donde aparecía una amplia información respecto al concurso para construir un edificio emblemático en el lago suizo de Lucerna. El juez del caso Palma Arena quiere acceder a esa publicación, que forma parte de un fondo bibliográfico, para poder comparar ambos proyectos.

Estacion Alameda – Valencia (ESP)






Budget for bridge and metro station: 12,6 million €

Real cost: 36 million €

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.


Bodega Ysios – Laguardia (ESP)

bodega Ysios

The prestigious Calatrava-designed bodega leaks, making indoor climate control impossible which may have devastating effects on the stored wines. The owners have taken Calatrava to court claiming 2 million € in necessary repairs.

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.–la-bodega-ysios-demanda-calatrava/l/

april 2013

La bodega Ysios, diseñada por el arquitecto valenciano Santiago Calatrava, situada al norte de Laguardia, Araba, tiene goteras y humedades desde hace años. La cubierta metálica está generando numerosos problemas de filtraciones debido, posiblemente, a problemas derivados de un insuficiente anclaje a la estructura.

Los “arreglos” no han podido acabar con las goteras y humedades, pero, según han asegurado los responsables de la bodega, “la calidad del producto no se ve afectada gracias a las eficaces medidas que se toman en bodega para controlar en todo momento la temperatura y humedad óptimas para la elaboración del vino”

La empresa ha demandado en el juzgado número cuatro de primera instancia e instrucción de Vitoria-Gasteiz a Santiago Calatrava, como proyectista, pero también como director facultativo de la obra así como a la empresa que la ejecutó, Ferrovial, SA.

La bodega pide dos millones de euros para reparar la cubierta, que consiste en colocar una nueva sobre la actual, después de acondicionar la estructura.

La cubierta metálica que dibuja rectángulos en el cielo pero que, al parecer, no soporta demasiado bien las tensiones de los cambios de temperatura que hay en la Rioja Alta, está generando numerosos problemas de filtraciones debido, posiblemente, a problemas derivados de un insuficiente anclaje a la estructura.

Los numerosos parches que se han realizado en coordinación con el arquitecto, los problemas no sólo no se han solucionado, sino que, según un informe técnico pericial pedido por la propiedad y aportado a la demanda, han acabado por agravar los problemas de estructura del tejado.

El resultado es que sigue habiendo goteras y humedades cuando que complican la habitabilidad y no ofrecen una atmósfera estable y controlada para la producción de vinos.

Now Domecq, the owner of the winery, has said it is fed up with the botched attempts of Calatrava’s original builders at fixing the roof and wants money from them so that it can bring in fresh architects and engineers to design a new one.

Llotja de Sant Jordi – Alcoy (ESP)


The community space designed by Calatrava has never met the legal security standards, extra costs have been made to improve (but not solve) this issue. Its steep stairs make access very difficult.

Built: 1995

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. 

alcoy trap

Bijnaam: La bandeja

é´´en van de eerste karakteristieke werken van calatrava. Een ondergrondse zaal onder de plaza de españa van alcoy (alicante).

Enige onderdelen avnd e zaal zijn nooit gebouwd, zoals de pilaar van san jorge.

La sala surgió como sala de música y teatro, pero la defectuosa audición provocó que se tuviera que reconvertir a unos usos más sociales, como exposiciones o congresos de pequeño mediano. También en esto hubo problemas, pues la primera exposición que se organizó no pudo llegar a celebrarse porque los cuadros no pasaban por la puerta: eran demasiado grandes. Ahora ya es “acústicamente satisfactoria”, pero después de una inversión de 600.000 euros del Gobierno central en el Plan E.

Jamás ha podido adecuarse a las normas de seguridad, que se han intensificado con los años. Fuentes del gobierno municipal del PP admiten que el ayuntamiento ha tenido que certificar oficialmente, a raíz de una petición externa, que la sala subterránea carece de licencia de apertura.

las dos escalinatas de entrada y salida. Ambas, según se resalta desde el gobierno del PP, tienen una pendiente inadecuada con respecto a la normativa y la anchura de los escalones es más reducida de la establecida por la legislación de seguridad vigente. La subsanación de estos extremos se considera “imposible”, debido a que obligaría a una reforma urbanística de enorme magnitud

in 2009 (se están volviendo a reparar los polémicos cristales y desarrollando mejoras, sobre todo técnicas, en el interior de la sala subterránea) zijn herstel en verbeteringswerken uitgevoerd voor een bedrag van 600.000€.Calatrava nam direct contact op met de gemeente om de garantie te krijgen dat de “integridad artística y arquitectónica” van zijn werk niet aangetast zou worden.

Calatrava otorgó una iluminación “natural” a la sala, para lo cual colocó bandas acristaladas en la superficie de la bandeja. Evidentemente, esto incrementó la luminosidad de la Llotja, pero las “mascletàs” que se disparan sobre la bandeja y los trabucazos del Alardo los rompían, lo que provocaba que cada vez que llovía el agua entrara y hubiera auténticas inundaciones. Las imágenes de la exposición repleta de cubos para recoger el agua o de la superficie cubierta con un plástico -que los detractores bautizaron como el “condón”- son impagables, hasta el punto que se llegó a editar una postal.

2011: nieuw systeem om wateroverlast van llotja tegen te gaan. Had last van overlast sinds de opning in 1995. e va a proceder a la sustitución de todos los cristales de la superficie de la bandeja de la plaza de España -una actuación que ya se ha efectuado en alguna que otra ocasión- y, a la vez, se colocarán desagües para canalizar las aguas pluviales, “evitando las goteras que tenemos”.

Está previsto que la recogida de pluviales se efectúe a través de canalizaciones de mayor tamaño de las originales. Cabe significar que uno de los problemas crónicos que ha registrado la Llotja desde su construcción es la presencia de goteras en épocas de lluvia

Calatrava ontwierp ook het plein met de toegangen etc voor de llotja.

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