Cel­e­brated ar­chi­tect wants his money back

Con­struc­tion of il­le­gal spa com­plex was halted by the au­thor­i­ties in 2006

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By Dave Jones AWARD­win­ning Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Toyo Ito is ask­ing Tor­re­vieja town hall to re­fund the de­posit he put down to con­struct the ill­fated spa com­plex on the shore of the largest of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s salt lakes.

The project – pro­moted by for­mer Par­tido Pop­u­lar ( PP) mayor Pe­dro Hernán­dez Ma­teo –was sunk by the na­tional gov­ern­ment af­ter it was found that part of the tourism in­fra­struc­ture was be­ing built in­side the pro­tec­tion perime­ter of La Mata­Tor­re­vieja nat­u­ral park with­out a li­cence.

The scheme fore­saw the con­struc­tion of three fu­tur­is­tic build­ings for a mud spa, even though bathing in the lake is banned and sub­ject to a large fine.

Since the €1.5 mil­lion project was halted in the mid­dle of the last decade, the rust­ing struc­ture known lo­cally as the ‘whale’ has been grad­u­ally de­te­ri­o­rat­ing on the shore of the la­goon.

Res­i­dents liv­ing nearby have de­nounced that the spa build­ing has been stripped of any­thing of value, van­dalised, torched and is now a fo­cus for fly­tip­ping.

They high­lighted that the struc­ture is now a ter­ri­ble eye­sore in an area of nat­u­ral beauty.

How­ever, even though the coali­tion coun­cil has tried to co­or­di­nate the de­mo­li­tion of the ‘whale’ and the clean­up of the site with the re­gional gov­ern­ment, no plans have yet been pre­sented for the work.

Branded ‘one of the world’s most in­no­va­tive and in­flu­en­tial ar­chi­tects’, Mr Ito has asked his rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Spain to re­cover the de­posit he put down in or­der to con­struct the com­plex.

Deputy mayor Fanny Ser­rano ex­plained that the coun­cil’s rul­ing board has de­cided to ‘sus­pend’ the re­quest while the town plan­ning depart­ment draws up a new re­port on the is­sue.

“It would be sur­pris­ing if we had to hand back this money, tak­ing into ac­count that the project has ended up the way it has,” she said.

The eye­sore mud spa build­ing is now a burned­out ruin

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