(Time) Spain’s White Elephants Feel the Pinch of the Economic Crisis

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2011, regional president Francisco Camps announced that the [Valencia's The City of Arts and Sciences] complex had brought in some 40 million tourists since it opened, and the complex has indeed become the most readily identifiable sign of the city. But visibility alone does not mean success, especially in times of economic crisis. The Valencia project came in four times over its original budget, and its final unit was not completed until 2005.

And it's hardly alone. The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center, a massive exhibition and performance space designed by the Brasilian architect for the northern Spanish port city of Avilés, ceased programming less than a year after it was inaugurated in March 2011. After decades of planning, Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain finally inaugurated its City of Culture, a Peter Eisenman campus, containing a museum, a library and a performance space, in January 2011. Yet the eventual $500 million spent wasn't even enough to finish the complex: the city ran out of money before completing two of the six planned buildings. "The crisis hit, and they didn't have any choice," says Anxo Lugilde, Galicia correspondent for La Vanguardia newspaper. "They had to stop construction."

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpain

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Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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