Spain`s City of Culture opens amid censure

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 14:54 PM IST

Spicezee Bureau

Madrid: Spain’s newest architectural extravaganza was finally opened to the public today amid jeers, branding the City of Culture as an uncalled expense.

Interestingly, many people see the City of Culture as a monument of egotism. The project, which is still half-finished, has already cost four times more than its original cost.

La Vanguardia newspaper columnist Anxo Luxilde said, “It was born in the Spain of excess and is opening during an economic collapse, as a sort of monument to construction bubble.”

Apparently, two of the six buildings – a newspaper archive and a library were opened today, twelve years after the project was commisioned. They will be followed by a 2,000-seat theatre, an international arts centre and a museum of Galician history.

Meanwhile, the Galician premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo compared the buildings to the Sydney Opera House and the New York`s Museum of Modern Art as, “There is now another obligatory stop on the main itineraries of the world.”

It is believed that the regional government has decided to show the construction. Culture chief Roberto Varela said, "We inherited this project in a very advanced state. We had no other option but to continue with it. "

However, Pedro Armas, a spokesman for opposition party said that City of Culture is “a cemetery for money."

According to Eisenman, City of Culture could be compared to the Getty Centre in Los Angeles and added that, “The size of the project has been increased several times over the past 10 years, so it is not surprising that the costs have increased. The scale and the ambition of the job probably make the City of Culture unique in the world. There is no way that it can be considered a waste of money. It is a serious investment in the welfare of Galicia and of future generations."

Many critics complain that City of Culture reflects rise of signature cultural buildings during an economic bonanza, which are now inappropriate in a nation with 20 percent unemployment and a 9 percent budget deficit.