Calatrava in the Canary Islands

When I visited the Canary Islands last week, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lovely example of Santiago Calatrava’s architecture: the Auditorio de Tenerife “Adan Martin” in Santa Cruz.

The Auditorio is a concert hall and home to the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife. The monumental construction is beautifully set against the Atlantic Ocean and really shines under the spring sun of the Canaries. At first sight it reminded me of an Elven helmet. Looking more closely at the sketched by Calatrava, the inside of the building is a study for the human eye.

Scetch Auditorio de Tenerife by Calatrava

Birds eye view Auditorio de Tenerife

The building was constructed between 1991 and 2003. It has become an architectural symbol of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is considerd one of Calatrava’s signature buildings in Spain. In 2008 Spain included the Auditorio in a series of architectural stamps and issued a €5 coin.

Stamp Auditorio de Tenerife

Coin Auditorio de Tenerife

When approaching the building I was stunned by the reflection of the sun on it’s base. The base is covered with white Trencadís, broken white ceramics, that were used by modernist Spanish architects. The roof is made of concrete which is is perfectly suited for the climate of the Canary Islands. Better than the station of Liège-Guillemins (Belgium), that suffers from the industrial pollution in the air and less attractive climate.

Originally the building was named “Auditorio de Tenerife”. In 2011 “Adán Martin” was added to it’s name in memory of the driving force behind it’s construction, president Adán Martin Menis.

Inside you can find a museum café and the ticketing office in the main hall.


The mechanism for opening the entrance to the main hall is very clever, the windows/doors are turned up and thus enable the light to flow into the main hall with abundance


But enough context for now, here are a few more pictures:


Street Address
Av. de la Constitución 1, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

My 2013 resolutions part 2 – Venice

After a trip to Wuppertal in the spring, I’m planning to visit the 55th Art Biennale in Venice, Italy. Although the city is generally associated with old architecture, I’m off on a quest to discover contemporary architecture.

Normally when travelling through Europe, I would take the train to Venice. But every rule has it’s exception  This time I will be travelling by airplane. I really hope I can find some clues to the Venice Gateway designed by Frank Gehry to connect Marco Polo airport with the city of Venice.

I can’t wait to check out the art displays at the Giardini site and the Arsenal. I imagine they are the perfect setting to blend the old with the new. At the Piazza San Marco I will definitely check out the Olivetti Shop designed by Carlo Scarpa. The pictures published about this shop on Daily Tonic are breathtaking if you ask me. Carlo Scarpa is thé architect I’m looking forward to discover through his architecture at the Palazzo Querini Stampalia. Scarpa was one of Mario Botta‘s thesis advisers. The bookshop and cafeteria of the same Querini palace have been designed by Scarpa’s student.

And of course I will not fail to pass the very contested Ponte della Costituzione bridge by Santiago Calatrava. I’m a big fan of Calatrava’s designs, although as a fan I have to admit that his buildings sometimes completely ignore their context. In this case, Calatrava ignored the fact that people with wheelchairs and older people have to be able to cross the bridge. I find it intriguing that sponsors are willing to invest in such constructions without even questioning whether their billion dollar project is able to stand the test of its confrontation with social reality. Luckily, in this case elevators have been constructed to solve the crossing problem. Hopefully they go well with the original design…