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White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World

09:50 - 26 September, 2016
White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

Not every piece of architecture can be an economic and social success. But there is one dreaded term reserved for only the mot wasteful of projects: "white elephants." The term comes from a story of the kings of Siam, now Thailand, who would reportedly gift sacred albino elephants to courtiers they didn't like. Refusing the gift from the king would have been unacceptable, but being sacred, these animals were forbidden from work, leading the courtier to financial ruin—a fact the kings knew all too well.

Of course, in architecture the term "white elephant" is used frequently to disparage certain projects, and whether a project is deserving of such infamy is usually a matter of perspective. Often eyesores or reminders of poorly spent funds, these projects refuse to be forgotten despite few wanting to remember them. Dotted around the world and across history, they all have the same thing in common: although they may (or may not) have once looked good on paper, they probably should have just stayed on paper.

Cultural Catalyst / ARROKABE Arquitectos

05:00 - 13 April, 2016
Cultural Catalyst / ARROKABE Arquitectos, © Luis Díaz Díaz
© Luis Díaz Díaz

© Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz +23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Project Architects

    (ARROKABE Arquitectos) Óscar Andrés Quintela, Iván Andrés Quintela
  • Project Area

    279.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

Caramoniña Allotments / Abalo Alonso arquitectos

05:00 - 27 March, 2016
Caramoniña Allotments  / Abalo Alonso arquitectos, © Hector Santos Diez
© Hector Santos Diez

© Hector Santos Diez © Hector Santos Diez © Hector Santos Diez © Hector Santos Diez +12

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rúa da Caramoniña, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Architect in Charge

    Elizabeth Abalo, Gonzalo Alonso, arquitectos
  • Area

    2650.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

Casa do Medio / ARROKABE Arquitectos

06:00 - 23 February, 2016
Casa do Medio / ARROKABE Arquitectos, © Luis Díaz Díaz
© Luis Díaz Díaz

© Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz +34

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España
  • Authors

    Óscar Andrés Quintela, Iván Andrés Quintela
  • Area

    444.0 sqm
  • Project year

    2015
  • Photography

Proyecto Hombre / Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos

01:00 - 4 October, 2014
Proyecto Hombre / Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos, Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos
Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos

Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos +18

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Area

    2996.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos

Center for New Technologies / Francisco Mangado

02:00 - 4 March, 2014
Center for New Technologies / Francisco Mangado, © Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

© Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe +9

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rúa de Ramón Baltar, 15702 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Area

    3300.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2007
  • Photographs

Casas Reais / Concheiro de Montard

01:00 - 9 May, 2013
© Luis Díaz Díaz
© Luis Díaz Díaz
  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Architect in Charge

    Isabel Concheiro, Raphaël de Montard
  • Area

    89.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

© Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz © Luis Díaz Díaz +14

Rehabilitation Hotel Moure / Abalo Alonso Arquitectos

01:00 - 22 February, 2013
Rehabilitation Hotel Moure / Abalo Alonso Arquitectos, © Santos Díez
© Santos Díez

© Santos Díez © Santos Díez © Santos Díez © Santos Díez +24

  • Architects

  • Location

    Loureiros nº6, Santiago de Compostela, España
  • Design Team

    Elizabeth Abalo, Gonzalo Alonso
  • Collaborators

    Francisco González Varela, Carlos Bóveda, Manuel Sanmartín, René Valiñas, José Noya
  • Budget

    933,244.29 €
  • Promotor

    Hermanos Liñares Bar
  • Year

    2010
  • Photography

The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects

01:00 - 8 June, 2011
The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects, © Duccio Malagamba
© Duccio Malagamba

© Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba +14

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Executive Architect

    Andres Perea Ortega and euroestudios
  • Client

    Fundación cidade da cultura de Galicia
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio

01:00 - 18 May, 2009
SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio

SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio +75

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio

01:00 - 8 May, 2009
Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio

Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio Musical Studies Centre / Ensamble Studio +29

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain
  • Architects

    Ensamble Studio
  • Principal In Charge

    Antón García- Abril
  • Collaborators

    Bernardo Angelini, Eduardo Martín Asunción, Arantxa Osés, Débora Mesa, Andrés Toledo, Guillermo Sevillano
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Javier Cuesta
  • Developer

    Santiago de Compostela´s Consortium
  • Construction Management

    O.H.L
  • Area

    1700.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2002