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The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, is an incredible collection of modern architecture set into what was once a riverbed. In an attempt to prevent future destructive flooding, the city re-routed the Turia River and developed its previous course into a series of gardens, punctuated by these futuristic structures that house concert halls, science museums, and more. While I would normally think that re-routing a river couldn’t possibly be a good idea, here it seems to work. A visit to the City of Arts and Sciences is like a visit to the future. In fact, it is often used as a backdrop for movies and television commercials.

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Many of the building’s surfaces are covered in a mosaic of glittering, white tile. The reflecting pools multiply the effect and provide a calm setting for the geometric shapes. Many times I’ve seen attempts at creating spaces like this go horribly wrong and they are vacant of humans, but here I saw people walking, biking, sitting to enjoy lunch, etc. It actually is a very inviting public space.

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Michael C. Snell photography

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