In July 1996, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, S.A. was founded, following a change in company name from Vacico (Valencia, Ciencia y Comunicaciones), a trading company run by the Government of Valencia. The name change also coincided with a change in corporate purpose, to adapt it to the new projects planned by the Valencian Government.
The project, designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava was constructed on the former bed of the River Turia.
Following catastrophic flooding in 1957, the river was diverted in the southern section of the city and the old riverbed, now dry was used to create a ten kilometre long park crossing the city centre. It was here that it was decided to locate the new complex, on flat land on the right bank of the final stretch of what was once the River Turia.