The Valencia branch of the Oscar Niemeyer fan club. Spain. 2009

Engogirl is presenting a paper at a workshop on environmental hydraulics at the University of Valencia and we are staying near Valencia’s City of Arts and Science (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias).

The city within the city is mostly the work of Santiago Calatrava and from where I stand I’d say he’s a fan of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

To my mind, nothing dates faster than a vision of the future. While I applaud the Spanish for their architectural daring, Calatrava’s designs look to me like Jurassic Park meets Space Mountain at Los Angles Disneyland. Sort of like if Oscar Niemeyer had been asked to design something influenced by dinosaur bones.

On one hand I like seeing unusual buildings and what Calatrava has designed is very spectacular, I felt that they already looked out of date as if they were some kind of vision of the future from 1957 and it surprised me that they were designed in the late 1990s.

10 thoughts on “The Valencia branch of the Oscar Niemeyer fan club. Spain. 2009”

  1. Visions of the future sure do date quickly. Remember 2001 a space oddessey. When I was a kid I thought we’d be driving George Jetson flying cars by now…

  2. So this is a business trip!!
    Really nice lines and colors in the photo, and that’s what some of these designs are good for. Most out of place are those scrawny little trees along the side. Truly great architecture stands the test of time and the test of being an environment for people. I guess I agree that while this is interesting, it doesn’t fully measure up.

  3. Tony

    Yeh! What ever happened to those little flying cars that were just around the corner when we were kids?


    “So this is a business trip!!”


    sort of.

    What I found dissapointing about Valencia’s City of Arts and Science is that it seems an old fashioned vision of the future. It doesn’t look like it’s of this time at all, but rather of the 1950s.

  4. The first association I had with this creation was the TWA terminal built in late fifties and early sixties at JFK airport. It was the future. I believe it has been tron down now. Here’s the link to it.

    I do love to look at all shapes and manner of buildings though! And when I just went to check on the “progress” of this same architect’s World Trade Center PATH station redesign at Ground Zero, I came across this photo of the very spot where you are staying. This shows the power of photography, no? I saw this photo and went, “WOW”.

    Oh, what a world. I love your line about about visions of the future date so quickly That whole “pod” existence seems to have been the single animating idea for centuries!

  5. Pat

    It’s funny that buildings that remind you of the buildings in my post have already been torn down.

    We cycled through the structure in your second link, yesterday. I took some “straight up” photos there and I’ll post them at some later date.

    I often joke to Engogirl when we are watching sci-fi (our favourite genre) and stupid item of design like thin test tubes are being used as drinking glasses, “in the future things will be badly designed and won’t work as well”.

    Often it would seem that some designers think that the stupid designs that we don’t use in contemporary life for practical reasons, will for some capricious reason be adopted in the future.

    Good design is not only beautiful but it is also practical and for me I feel truely modern design will refine such ideas rather than come up with extreme designs that merely look “futuristist” but are impractical.

  6. Wonderful ! Architecture and photo.
    I personally like Calatrava’s architecture and think he’s a kind of Gaudi of modern times.
    I like the way he plays between structure and look.

  7. Vanille

    Thanks for dropping by, long time no see. I guess that’s what I get for not visiting your blog for so long!

    The trouble I find with Calatrava’s designs is that like many things that appeal immediately, they don’t (for me at least) stand up to close scrutiny. When ever I immediately like something, like a pop song for instance, it always amazes me how quickly I grow to dislike it.

    To me Calatrava’s designs are too facile. I feel that Calatrava is just reaching into a bag of well worn cliches rather than actually creating anything new. As a matter of fact, I find Calatrava’s designs an old fashioned (at least 50 years old)idea of the future.

    Then again that’s just my opinion which of course doesn’t mean that I think I’m right, I guess it’s a matter of tastes. As the the old Romans used to say, “De gustibus non est disputandum” (there is not to be discussion regarding tastes).

    I don’t like cucumbers either 😉

  8. Yes, I guess it’s time that will say or show who’s right…
    And by the way, I think you have better thing to do and visit than dropping by my blog…
    On my side I come to have regular architectural/photo/anecdote fix of Europe ! 😉

  9. Walking around Brasilia a few years ago with a bunch of German architects was very interesting.
    … the buildings didn’t look so now-futuristic though: just old futuristic.

    The building on the right with the reflexion looks like “Marvin the Martians” helmet from the Bugs Bunny cartoons.

  10. Vanille

    We’ve still got about two weeks to go, so I should have a few more tibits for you soon.


    Where haven’t you been? I really envy you to have walked around Brasilia with architects. I would love to hear what they had to say about Niemeyer’s vision.

    I love the “old futuristic” remark. That’s what I felt when I went to Disneyland (LA) back in the early 1980s

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