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What Would the Calatrava-Inspired City in Tomorrowland Actually Cost?

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Disney's summer tent-pole, the sci-fi fantasy Tomorrowland, may not be packing in seats, but it does deliver on the "city of tomorrow" theme. According to Architectural Record, the film's soaring urban landscape was inspired by Santiago Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. "[His] architecture is just phenomenal and inventive and exciting," according to movie producer Jeffrey Chernov said. "You walk into that place and you never want to leave. That's the vibe we wanted for Tomorrowland." While Calatrava's optimistic vision meshes with both the movie and Walt Disney's philosophy for his theme parks and company, his tendency to go over budget doesn't quite jive with the Magic Kingdom's modus operandi. To provide a rough estimate as to what a future city created by the Spanish architect might cost, here's a run through some of his previous cost overruns, by building type.

Entertainment—City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia, Spain)
Talk about a curved construction dream team: Calatrava and Felix Candela, developer of thin concrete shells known as cascarones, teamed up for this riverbed-turned-cultural complex. What wasn't dreamy was the eventual cost overruns. initially budgeted at $405 million, the project ended up costing three times that much. Some of the overrun is a result of repairs and additions to the original design, including seats in the opera house with obstructed views and buildings without handicap entrances.

Transportation—World Trade Center Transportation Hub (New York, NY)
The city in Tomorrowland looks like it has an efficient, speedy transportation system that would make riders sing its praises. City planners might not be as overjoyed with a Calatrava-built rail line. The recently completed World Trade Center Transportation Hub was described as a "giant boondoggle," and came in eight years late at double its initial $2 billion estimate.

Bridges—Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (Dallas, Texas)
One of three white spans by the Spanish architect set to cross the Trinity River, the 400-foot-tall cable bridge was a controversial call, with some politicians complaining about the inflated cost compared to a less star-studded infrastructure project. All in, the projected $117 million price tag swelled to $182 million (though to be fair, a good portion of the overrun this time was due to land acquisition costs that weren't factored into the budget).

Housing—Turning Torso (Malmö, Sweden)
Based on a marble sculpture created by the architect to mimic the human form, this gently twisted 54-story residential tower was meant to be an icon for the city (Daredevil Felix Baumgartner even parachuted onto the rooftop then jumped off as part of a stunt). But despite the advanced publicity, the building never sold like investors planned, and had to be converted into a rental building. In addition, construction overruns doubled the initial budget. Hopefully, the 100-percent renewably powered structure can make up some of the deficit with lower energy bills.

Skyscrapers—Chicago Spire (Chicago, Illinois)
While assumptions about the final cost of this never-completed project are purely speculative—currently, all Chicago has to show for years of effort is a hole in the ground—the huge tower, which some compared to a blade of grass, ended up costing developers a pretty penny. Up until a few months ago, Calatrava was battling for his $11 million dollar design fee, well after any chance of the building going up was long past.

· Tomorrowland Review [The Verge]
· Calatrava's World Trade Center Hub Is a 'Glorious Boondoggle' [Curbed NY]
·Complete Calatrava coverage [Curbed]