The Spanish are well known for their passion for architectural innovation. From the time of the Moors, the country has been home to unique buildings, and today Spains cities showcase the work of architectural geniuses like Antoni Gaudi, Frank Gehri and Norman Foster. But if exploring cutting-edge architecture is your passion, you dont have to settle for a city break. Fuerteventura holidays or a beach break in Lanzarote or Tenerife can also offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in architectural gems while you soak up the sun.
Lanzarote family holidays dont seem like an obvious architecture-spotting opportunity, but thanks to the architect, artist and decorator Csar Manrique, the island is home to stunning and innovative structures that are as interactive as they are beautiful. Manriques passion for melding 20th-century design with remarkable natural features is embodied in the Jameos del Agua. Housed in an ancient tunnel created by molten lava from the Corona volcano, the centres flowing white-painted passageways offer new visual experiences at every turn. Theres a natural salt-water pool, lush tropical gardens, and a huge vaulted space that has been converted into an auditorium offering remarkable acoustics. Manrique also created the Mirador del Rio, a clifftop lookout point to the north of the island, where a balustraded cafe, shop and a viewing platform have been integrated into the natural lava formations, as well as the Farmhouse Museum, where pristine white walls, green doors and spectacular sculpture pay tribute to the islands agricultural heritage.
If youre planning family holidays to Tenerife, a visit to Santiago Calatravas Auditorio de Tenerife is a must. Classed amongst the greatest living architects in the world, Calatrava now operates internationally he is currently designing the future train station at the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City, which is scheduled to open in 2015. The auditorium, completed in 2003, is home to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and is widely regarded as the finest example of modern architecture on the Canary Islands. Its both lauded and criticised for its visual similarities to the Sydney Opera House; both buildings echo their natural surroundings of waves and sails. Looming over the auditorium are the two towers that make up the Torres de Santa Cruz, a residential development comprising the tallest twin towers in Spain. Some might disapprove of their stark modernism, but the towers are considered a symbol of the city.
Fuerteventura holidays have much to offer in the way of innovative architecture from various periods. The small town of La Olivia is home to a mixture of modern and historic buildings, including the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, the Casa de los Coroneles and the Casa Mane Art Centre. But to experience memorable design from within, why not plan a stay at the spectacular Grand Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real? A tribute to Spains Moorish heritage, its opulent dcor, lush vegetation and warm tones create the perfect environment in which to wind down after a hard days sightseeing.