With its alien aesthetic and angular white profiles, the architecture of Santiago Calatrava is unmistakable. And that’s especially true for anyone who’s visited the architect’s hometown/playground of Valencia. Santa Cruz’s auditorium, one of its most emblematic buildings, looks like the sibling of Valencia’s Palau de les Arts — definitely part of the same family.
Officially named Adán Martín in honor of a former president of the Canary Islands, the Auditorio de Tenerife was constructed in 1997 and completed in 2003. Right away, the building became a landmark of modern Spanish architecture, with its unforgettable profile redefining the southern end of the city’s port.
We walked by the auditorium a number of times, but never managed to gain entrance — it remains closed except for performances. That’s not a tragedy, though, since like all of Calatrava’s works, it’s best appreciated from the outside, every angle providing a wildly different perspective.
Santa Cruz’s most modern building is found right next to one of its most ancient — the Castillo de San Juan Bautista. This small, circular fort was constructed in 1644 and later rebuilt in the 1700s, and was used to ward off invaders, including the England’s Horatio Nelson during the battle of Santa Cruz in 1797. The incongruity of these two neighboring buildings — one massive, futuristic and designed for pleasure; the other tiny, circular and designed for defense — is almost amusing. We’d like to return in 200 years, and see which has survived in better condition!