As early as 1970, there was agreement that the creation of an auditorium for the islands should proceed. The location in the El Ramonal was approved in 1977. In 1978 design proposals were solicited for consideration. The project agreed to appoint the architect Antonio Fernández Alba. Later, in 1985, the location of the auditorium was moved to El Chapatal.
In 1987, the final design of Antonio Fernández Alba, with collaboration of Vicente Saavedra and Javier Díaz Llanos are unveiled. However soon after, there is a conceptual shift about the type of building and the government abandons the project.
In 1989, the government enters into discussion with the architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, who becomes the project architect. In 1991, Calatrava publicly presented his design. At the time the building was to be located at the end of Avenida Tres de Mayo.
In 1992 the government created the Commission for Supervision and Control for the construction of the auditorium. In 1996, the Commission changed the location to the Castillo de San Juan Bautista, located by the sea.
Groundbreaking and construction finally began in 1997, twenty years after the initial approval. During 2001 the 17 larger metal panels which form the exterior were installed. In 2002, the concrete and the white exterior trencadís plaster work was completed. In 1997, they started the earth moving works at the final location. Throughout the year 2001, 17 metal parts were placed forming the jacket. In 2002, the exterior concrete trencadís, and the interior were completed. Much of the surface is covered with white trencadís, with colorful trencadís as decorative elements in the retaining walls of the plaza the building stands on.
The Tenerife Auditorium was officially opened by the Prince of Asturias Felipe de Borbón on September 26, 2003. The opening was covered by media from around the world, including newspapers such as the New York Times, Financial Times, The Independent, the Paris Le Monde, and Italy's Corriere della Sera, as well as international magazines such as Elle Decoration, Architecture Today and Marie Claire Maison.
The auditorium was visited by former President of the United States Bill Clinton, who visited Tenerife in July 2005 to attend a conference on the role of the island in the Tenerife Atlantic Logistics Platform. This was the first visit by a former U.S. president to the Canary Islands.
On January 28, 2011 the Cabildo de Tenerife approved the proposal to rename the building "Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín" in memory of President of the Canary Islands, Adán Martín Menis, who was the driving force behind the construction of the auditorium in his stage as President of the Cabildo Insular de Tenerife (1987-1999). However, many citizens and media were against the name change. Despite the name change of the auditorium most of the population continues to call the building just "Auditorio de Tenerife".
The Auditorio de Tenerife is situated in a central area of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, near The Avenue of the Constitution, the Parque Marítimo César Manrique and the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The auditorium is located near the Tenerife Tram station.
Near the auditorium stand the two Torres de Santa Cruz, which are the tallest buildings in the Canary Islands, and the tallest residential building in Spain until 2010. The auditorium and the towers are the most recognizable and most photographed structures in the city. The building stands on a plot of 23,000 m² of which the auditorium occupies 6471 m², divided into two chambers. The main hall or Symphony, crowned by a dome, has 1,616 seats in an amphitheater. It's stage is 16.5 meters wide, with a depth of 14 meters. Organ pipes emerge from both sides of the pit, designed by Albert Blancafort (who has also been involved in the construction of organs at the Cathedral of Alcala de Henares and the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus on Gran Canaria). The auditorium differs from traditional designs because it attempts to surround the listener with sound sources.
The chamber hall, with 422 seats, reproduces the symphony hall amphitheater on a smaller scale. In the lobby, accessible from two sides of the building, are the press room, a shop and cafe. The building also has a dozen individual dressing rooms, as well as rooms for hairdressing, makeup, costumes, etc. The exterior has two terraces overlooking the sea.
The building is famous for its great "arc", which marked a first in the history of architecture. It is the only large arch supported by only two points, while the tip appears to be suspended, defying gravity. The silhouette of the auditorium as seen from the sea evokes the Sydney Opera House in Australia. The term The Sydney of the Atlantic"' has come to refer to the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.Trade Winds Plaza: 16.289 m²
Atlantic Terrace: 400 m²
City Terrace: 350 m²
Galleries Port and Castle
The building is normally lit in bright white at night, but more colorful lighting is used on special occasions. For example, on New Year 2007–2008 the auditorium was lit in white and yellow, and a clock was projected onto one wing of the building to mark the hours. In 2008, it was illuminated in green to celebrate 30 years of Transportes interurbanos de Tenerife, S.A. (TITSA).
On World Diabetes Day, the auditorium is illuminated in blue, and special lighting is also employed during the annual Cadena Dial Awards. The auditorium also participates in "Earth Hour," a campaign against climate change in which large buildings "go dark" for an hour to draw awareness to the cause.
Also when held in the auditorium a national or international convention, are placed on the masts located next to the building, look national flags of the participating countries (e.g. on the occasion of World Port Strategy Forum), also placed banners with logo of the companies sponsoring these forums.
The auditorium hosts various musical performances, such as Tenerife Danza, Atlantic Jazz, World Music and Great Performers in addition to hosting the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, the Tenerife Opera Festival and, together with the Teatro Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the sessions for the Canary Islands Music Festival (Festival de Música de Canarias).
Auditorium facilities are designed to accommodate conferences, product launches and conventions. The auditorium building and its environment are also promoted as a location for filming commercials.
The area around the auditorium, are also used in the Armed Forces Day during the month of May, where the best pieces of artillery are exposed at the foot of the building like a "great outdoor military museum" it were. During the celebration of the Canary Islands Day (May 30), the Tenerife Auditorium hosts the Canary Awards and Gold Medals of the region. This act has the presence of President of the Canary Islands and the maximum regional authorities, and local island.
In September 2014, within the Starmus International Festival, the auditorium was visited by Stephen Hawking, who is considered the most famous scientist in the world.
The official Cadena Dial Awards have been held in the Auditorium of Tenerife since 2007. The gala event brings together various national and international Latin singers including Laura Pausini, Chayanne, Amaral, Amaia Montero, Eros Ramazzotti, Beatriz Luengo, Camila, Estopa, Luis Fonsi, Tiziano Ferro, Manolo Garcia, Melocos, Melendi, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Pitingo, Rosario and Sergio Dalma. Familiar faces in show business, television and radio have presented the awards: Paz Vega, Santi Millán, Fernando Tejero, Marta Torné, José Mari Manzanares, Elena Rivera, Jose Ramon de la Morena, Pablo Motos and Gemma Nierga. One of the unique events at this gala is the singer's walk, a green carpet installed at the foot of the auditorium.
The awards reach across the Atlantic via the radio network Union Radio Kiss Radio in Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica, Continental Radio in Argentina and Top 40 stations of Panama, Argentina, Guatemala and Ecuador. In addition, the gala is broadcast on TV Canaria and Cuatro TV.
The building has been criticized for several reasons including the location, various structural problems, budget increases and an alleged breach of safety rules.
Despite this criticism, the building is now considered an emblem of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and a distinctive symbol of the city and the island. It is also a significant tourist attraction.