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He’s one of the world’s most prominent architects, known for his complex aesthetic and intricate designs. But behind Spain’s Santiago Calatrava is a trail of frustrated clients, from a wine cellar near La Rioja whose leaky roof left it battling the elements, to the dazzling City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia whose final cost came in at four times the original price tag.
This week Calatrava defended his projects. “The reality is that throughout my career I’ve tackled projects in Spain that I’m proud of,” he told Spanish daily El Mundo.
The largest – and perhaps most controversial – collection of his work is in his home town of Valencia. The City of Arts and Sciences complex, which includes a concert hall, opera house and planetarium, saw its final cost swell to more than €1bn (£740m). Since the performance hall opened in 2005, authorities have complained of a leaky roof and chunks of the intricate mosaic flying off during high winds.
Anger over the project led one local politician to catalogue the project’s problems on a website, Calatravatelaclava, which translates loosely as “Calatrava bleeds you dry.” Last year, a court ordered the website to change its name and pay €30,000 in damages to the architect. […]