Posts Tagged ‘Santiago Calatrava’

A neighbour lent me a book entitled “The Canary Islands” which was written by Florence du Cane and illustrated by her sister, Ella. The book was published in 1911. In it, Florence describes her feelings on landing at Santa Cruz:
“…the utter hideousness of the capital of Teneriffe was a shock to me.”

I guess it’s fair to say she wasn’t impressed. And if that’s how she felt in 1911, I seriously doubt that the addition of the now present sprawling eyesore of the CEPSA refinery would have done much to improve her mood.

Warrior statues in Plaza EspanaOn the other hand, she might have cast a more favourable eye on the iconic curves of the Santiago Calatrava– designed Auditorio de Tenerife and would almost certainly have raised a Victorian eyebrow at the perfect Callipygian curves of the warrior statues that adorn Plaza España, or at least, that did adorn it and will do again once building work is complete.

Santa Cruz is a city going through the same sort of transformation that Manchester went through after the bombing of the late 1990s when it rose from the ashes of terrorist attack and post-industrial revolution grime to emerge as Britain’s most vibrant 21st century city (no bias there then).
In Santa Cruz there are plans afoot for a vast pedestrianised quayside with shops, walkways, bars, restaurants and cinemas. There’s already a growing tide of chill-out lounges, cocktail bars and chic restaurants opening their doors in the Noria district. The newly re-vamped Parque García Sanabria breathes air, beauty and calm into the heart of the city and the gentle whirr and ‘ding, ding’ of the trams that swish down palm lined avenues like peacocks on rails add that final 21st century touch to the city that so disappointed Florence.
If she arrived today, I’d like to think she’d have something a bit nicer to say about Santa Cruz, even if it’s only that the trams are nicer than they were in her day. But if she arrives in siesta time, she might find that some things haven’t changed much at all:
“The crowd of swarthy loafers who lounge about the quay in tight yellow or white garments, are true sons of a southern race, and chatter gaily with handsome black-eyed girls.”  Florence du Cane 1911.

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