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Valencia Opera House: Repairing a white elephant

(JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)

What has this building got in common with a slippery bridge in Bilbao?

‘Starchitect’ Santiago Calatrava has designed bridges, museums and airports around the world, but he is not without controversy.

Repairs have begun on the opera house Calatrava built in his native city of Valencia, Spain, just eight years after it was inaugurated.

Chunks of the building’s mosaic facade fell off in high winds, forcing authorities to cancel performances until further notice. Calatrava is now facing legal action from the city.

The architect has been criticised in the past, variously for a leaky roof in a Spanish bodega, cost overruns on a footbridge in Venice and a Bilbao footbridge that proved an unstable surface in rain. But in an interview last year, he pointed out that clients were happy enough to give him repeat business.

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