The City of Arts and Sciences (Valencian: Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Spanish: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex in the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia. The City of the Arts and the Sciences is situated at the end of the old riverbed Turia. Turia became a garden in 1980, after the bypass of the river by the great flood of Valencia in 1957. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project underwent the first stages of construction in July, 1996 and the finished city was inaugurated April 16, 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisfèric. The last great component of the City of the Arts and the Sciences, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was presented in October 9, 2005, Valencian Community Day.
The complex is made up of the following buildings, in order of their inauguration:
Calatrava was born in Benimámet, an old municipality now integrated as an urban part of Valencia, Spain, where he pursued undergraduate studies at the Architecture School and Arts and Crafts School. Following graduation in 1975, he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich for graduate work in civil engineering. Calatrava's early career was dedicated largely to bridges and train stations, whose designs elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona, Spain (1991) in the heart of the 1992 Olympic site was a turning point in his career, leading to a wide range of commissions. The Quadracci Pavilion (2001) of the Milwaukee Art Museum was his first building in the US. Calatrava’s entry into high-rise design began with an innovative 54-story-high twisting tower called Turning Torso (2005), located in Malmö, Sweden. Calatrava’s style has been heralded as bridging the division between structural engineering and architecture. In the projects, he continues a tradition of Spanish modernist engineering that includes Félix Candela and Antonio Gaudí. Nonetheless, his style is also very personal and derives from numerous studies of the human body and the natural world.
- L’Hemisfèric — an Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium. Built in the shape of the eye and has an approximate surface of 13,000 m².
- El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe — an interactive museum of science but resembling the skeleton of a whale. It occupies around 40,000 m² on three flats.
- L'Umbracle — a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia (such as rockrose, lentisca, romero, lavender, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, palm tree). It harbors in its interior The Walk of the Sculptures, an outdoor art gallery with sculptures from contemporary artists. (Miquel from Navarre, Francesc Abbot, Yoko Ono and others).
- L'Oceanogràfic — an open-air oceanographic park. It is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe with 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water. It was built in the shape of a water lily and is the work of architect Félix Candela.
- El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía — an opera house and performing arts center. It contains four large rooms: a Main Room, Magisterial Classroom, Amphitheater and Theater of Camera. It is dedicated to music and the scenic arts.
- El Puente de l'Assut de l'Or — a bridge that connects the south side with Minorca Street, whose 125 meters high pillar is the highest point in the city.
- L'Àgora — a covered plaza in which concerts and sporting events (such as the Valencia Open 500) are held.
- The Valencia Towers — forming part of a project of the construction of three skyscrapers of 308, 266 and 220 m. The project has been put on hold and the possibilities that it will be finished are seen by many as doubtful.