The Calatrava building in Oviedo is extraordinary, wonderful, exciting! The Palace of Exhibitions and Congresses is also, it seems, a nightmare!
Santiago Calatrava (1951-) is an extraordinary architect, engineer and artist who creates exciting public projects which also excite controversy. Because of the innovative designs his projects are often problematic and frequently run over time and over budget. This civic building in Oviedo is no exception. In 2014 he was fined $4million for problems with the building, and there are several more problematic projects to his name.
Calatrava building in Oviedo
The Palace of Exhibitions and Congresses was constructed between 2003-2008 and intended to house a shopping mall, a four-star hotel, a conference and exhibition centre, the regional culture and health departments and an underground parking garage. The offices and hotel are in the wings forming a U-shape high above the ground. The exhibition centre and auditorium are under the curved dome between the wings. It was the most expensive private project ever undertaken in Asturias. Today, however, the shopping mall has closed and stands empty.
Abstract shapes in the Calatrava building in Oviedo
I enjoyed wandering around the building and trying to capture the shapes and angles, and was blessed with a clear, blue sky.
The urban setting
This enormous building looks somewhat incongruous amongst the square blocks of flats and is perhaps too big for its physical space.
People in relation to the building
The size of the building is not really apparent in photographs. I included people entering, or walking past the building to give some idea of just how enormous it is!
In a garden
The building on the opposite side to the hotel entrance looks quite different. I was surprised by the soft curves here at the entrances to the former shopping mall. I think there was also an entrance to the exhibition centre and auditorium from under this amazing overhang. On this side of the building there is soft landscaping.
The Calatrava building in Oviedo is probably the most extraordinary building I have every seen – I would have loved to go inside. Next time!