It’s been a tough start to the year in Santander. Not only have the waves been beating the coastline and the wind howling non-stop but those of us who like to follow the progress of the Botin Centre have been trying to do our sums.
Is A Project Overrun Likely?
We’re combing the usual sources such as the local newspaper El Diario Montanes to gauge when the Centre will be finished. But no date is emerging. Both the Mayor and the Botin Foundation said recently that they don’t know when it will open – giving the complexity of the building and Renzo Piano’s quest for perfection as the reasons for what nobody is confirming but everybody is thinking – there will be a project over-run.
Only a few weeks ago, it looked like a Summer 2014 opening was still on the cards – at least, that’s the date that was published on the site update video on December 21. Check it out if you’d like to see what happened on site from September to December 2013…
I suppose these minor project overruns are par for the course in these large projects. I looked into Renzo Piano’s 87-storey skyscraper in London and while its officially opening in July 2012 was on time, the building itself wasn’t officially completed until November that year. And a comment made by the Mayor of Santander about the complexity of Bilbao’s Guggenheim where he worked as a civil engineer for two years attracted my attention. Turns out the official opening was delayed from June to October 1997 due to some imperfections in the titanium cladding sheets.
Seeing at there’s no particular reason to have the official opening until the building is completed, we’ll have to wait and wonder. If the photos I took on Sunday are anything to go by, there’s quite a lot of building left to finish.
The Botin Centre Site on Febuary 2, 2014
Plenty Activity Beside the Site
While the work continues on the Centre itself, there are lots of other hard-hat sites popping up. The Hotel Bahia in front of the Pereda Gardens is undergoing a significant renovation. Not surprising, considering the amazing views it has of the bay and now of the Centre. I can’t wait to see the changes – and hope they take advantage of the views.
And the Town Hall is plugging away with its pedestrianisation of the area. Last month twenty companies bid for the Calle Cadiz job – which is the street that leads to the train station. The deadline for completion is August – and all eyes will be on the revolving platform to enable larger vehicles making deliveries to be able to turn around without having to take chunks out of the newly planted foliage.
We can also expect to see the diggers out on the road that goes west of the Botin Centre, alongside the ferry terminal and the Fishing Quarter to La Marga roundabout. That’s because funding was approved in December for a new stretch of bike lane. By this Autumn, Santander should have 20km of cycle paths, which doesn’t sound like much if you are Dutch or Danish or even from Seville, but it’s a start.
What Will Be Finished This Summer?
Access All Areas?
And although I don’t know when I’ll get to set foot inside the completed centre, I have high hopes to get onto the site over the coming weeks. I became a friend of the centre – unfortunately not quickly enough to get my design on one of the building’s ceramic tiles (that’s what you miss out on when you’re in bed with the flu!) but I have signed up for one of the six workshops. Will I manage to be one of the lucky 150 people to attend a building presentation inside the Site Office?
And there I leave you. It’s red alert this evening and the forecasted 140km/hour winds are whistling around the building. I hope everything at the Botin Centre is well strapped down. I’ll leave you with a picture of the glistening bay…