In the middle of St. Gallen's Marktplatz, the heart of the historic city centre, a white, modern bus and tram stop inevitably catches the eye. The structure, big enough to fit one bus under its awning, was built by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in 1996. Like most of his work, it is both loved and hated: The architect has been sued for delays, overbudgeting and flaws in his work, but also honoured with dozens of international recognitions.
Like the shelter in St. Gallen, many of Calatrava's pieces of architecture are criticised for busting into cities without much consideration for the local context. Calatrava argues that cities change constantly; he also says that the criteria that prevail nowadays for the preservation of traditional buildings are not the same that people had in the nineteenth century. He cites the Abbey of St. Gallen as an example: “The pre-Romanic cloister was there a thousand years before the actual Baroque church was built.” Calatrava states that the existence of “old” buildings in cities should not impede architects from “putting something of the late twentieth century in the middle of it.”