Destinations

Venice fines famous architect over unfit tourist bridge

A Venice court has fined Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava for what the city deemed as errors that made a bridge over the Grand Canal unable to sustain the burden of tourists.

Calatrava, who has designed countless projects around the world, including the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, has been fined €78,000 ($127,903) over the alleged errors. Salvatore Vento, a Venice engineer responsible for the bridge, has abeen fined €11,000 ($18,041).

The Valencia-based architect has been accused of being “negligent” in the construction process for the Constitutional Bridge on Venice’s Grand Canal by making it more expensive and unable to handle the number of tourists who cross it each day, according to CNN.

The 300-foot-long Ponte della Costituzione was unveiled in 2008 to “great fanfare” and represented the first bridge to be built in Venice in 125 years. However, the BBC reported that the bridge encountered problems after opening.

Among the issues, the court found that steps wore out too quickly and fixes were needed for wheelchairs.

However, Calatrava refutes he or his studio had anything to do with the construction of a platform for wheelchair users, which was allegedly undertaken by the Venice municipality, according to the BBC.

He also denied any material weaknesses, with the BBC quoting the architect as saying: “The bridge was checked with sophisticated methods, which determined that it has a solid structure which is behaving better than expected.”

Furthermore, Calatrava is arguing that the extra costs were linked to improvements to the canal-side areas next to the bridge.”

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