Ever since Santiago Calatrava's dashing-yet-delicate Valencia opera house opened in 2005, the structure's invigorating form has inspired a commensurate amount of controversy. Originally budgeted at about $405M, the larger complex that holds the building, called the City of Arts and Sciences, ended up costing nearly three times that much. What's more, the opera house broke from some pretty basic ideas about auditorium design—the space contains nearly 150 seats with obstructed views. As repair and alteration costs mounted, one local politician started a website called Calatravatelaclava, which loosely translates to "Calatrava bleeds you dry." Now, the situation has gone from warranting an #architecturalfacepalm to a world-weary "oof," as the city of Valencia is suing the Spanish architect for the rapid deterioration of his "white elephant," pieces of which have been crumbling off due to high winds, forcing officials to cancel performances and close off portions of the venue.
Of course, anyone familiar with the Calatrava's career knows he has something of a history of running into these problems and occasionally getting sued for it. A footbridge he built in Bilbao, Spain is now covered in a black carpet due to the high volume of pedestrian slippage, while his WTC transportation hub is now six years behind schedule, with costs ballooning to over $3.8B, while a single hallway set the taxpayers of New York back $225M. You've got to hand it to the guy, though: he's definitely got a devotion to form, and nature knows you don't deserve starchitect status unless you're pissing people off.
· santiago calatrava sued by valencia for crumbling opera house [Designboom]
· All Santiago Calatrava posts [Curbed National]