The L’Hemisfèric is a spectacular building located in Valencia, Spain. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened in 1998, this unique piece of architecture is a Planetarium for viewing the night sky and a Laserium to showcase light displays, it also houses an IMAX Cinema. What makes this building unique? It’s shaped like an eye and has the ability to open and close like one too.
What is it?
The L’Hemisfèric was created to represent the ‘all-seeing’ human eye and the wisdom it represents. It symbolises looking and observing the world, the skies and the stars.
A 24,000 square metre glass-bottomed pond surrounds the structure. The relation between the pond and the L’Hemisfèric becomes apparent when the ‘eye’ is opened and closed; once closed, the reflection makes the eye look whole and is a mesmeric experience. The shutter built to resemble the closing of an eye is made out of elongated aluminium awnings that fold upward collectively to form a brise soleil roof that opens along the curved axis of the eye.
The ovoid shaped roof is more than 100 metres in length and houses a great sphere in which the projection room is located. This is the largest screen room in Spain and features two projection systems and a wide concave screen that covers more than 900 square metres.
The outer ring of the L’Hemisfèric has been named the Carl Sagan, in homage to the great populariser of astronomy, Carl Sagan popularised astronomy and science through his famous TV series ‘Cosmos’.
The L’Hemisfèric was the first building that opened its doors in the City of Arts and Sciences. The City of Arts and Sciences is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex with other buildings including El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe and L'Oceanogràfic.
What can you do here?
- Explore the site - Visitors can explore stunning audiovisual projections inside the building and take in the beauty and complexity of the structure, snapping photos of the architecture as you go.
- IMAX - The IMAX cinema uses the large frame size possible, the result is a clean cinema experience that is 10x higher than that of a conventional cinema. The IMAX Dome projector uses a fisheye style lens to allow a film to be illuminated across curved/concave surfaces.
- Digital projections - Astronomy shows and entertainment performances are shown on screen to audiences
- 3D digital cinema - The dimensions of the 3D screen rectangle is approximately 16x8 metres
- You can visit the entire Solar System - travel between the galaxies via a digital astronomical simulator that has the most extensive database from professional astronomers.
The eye inspired building is one-of-a-kind; had you heard of it before? Is the L’Hemisfèric now on your bucket list?
For information on eye health and laser eye surgery, head to our guides page.