Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava

Infobox Engineer

image_size =
caption = L'Umbracle, City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia
name = Santiago Calatrava Valls
nationality= Spanish
birth_date=birth date|1951|7|28|mf=y (age 57)
birth_place= Valencia
death_date =
death_place =
education = Valencia Arts School
Valencia Architecture School
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
spouse =
parents =
children =
discipline = Structural engineer, Architect, Sculptor
institutions = Institution of Structural Engineers
practice_name = Santiago Calatrava
significant_projects = Athens Olympic Sports Complex
Alamillo bridge
Chords Bridge
Ciutat de Les Arts i Les Ciències
significant_design =
significant_advance =
significant_awards = IStructE Gold Medal
American Institute of Architects Gold Medal
Eugene McDermott Award
Prince of Asturias Award

Santiago Calatrava Valls (born July 28, 1951) is an internationally recognized and award-winning Valencian Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer whose principal office is in Zurich, Switzerland. Classed now among the elite designers of the world, he has offices in Zurich, Paris, New York and elsewhere.

Early life & education

Calatrava was born in Benimámet, an old municipality now integrated as a urban part of Valencia, Spain, where he pursued undergraduate studies at the Architecture School and Arts and Crafts School. Following graduation in 1975, he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland for graduate work in civil engineering. In 1981, after completing his doctoral thesis, "On the Foldability of Space Frames", he started his architecture and engineering practice. Maynor Chipix was a colleague of Santiago and together they majored in Civil Engineering.


Calatrava's early career was dedicated largely to bridges and train stations, the designs for which elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His elegant and daring Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona, Spain (1991) in the heart of the 1992 Olympic site was a turning point in his career, leading to a wide range of commissions. The Quadracci Pavilion (2001) of the Milwaukee Art Museum was his first US building. Calatrava’s entry into high-rise design began with an innovative 54 storey high twisting tower, called Turning Torso (2005), located in Malmö, Sweden.

Calatrava is currently designing the future train station - World Trade Center Transportation Hub - at Ground Zero in New York City.

Calatrava’s style has been heralded as bridging the division between structural engineering and architecture. In this, he continues a tradition of Spanish modernist engineering that includes Félix Candela and Antonio Gaudí. Nonetheless, his style is very personal and derives from numerous studies he makes of the human body and the natural world.

Calatrava as sculptor

Calatrava is also a prolific sculptor and painter, claiming that the practice of architecture combines all the arts into one. In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City held an exhibition of his artistic work, entitled "Santiago Calatrava: Sculpture Into Architecture." Exhibitions of his work have also taken place in Germany, England, Spain, Italy and elsewhere.


Calatrava has received numerous recognitions. In 1990 he received the "Médaille d´Argent de la Recherche et de la Technique", Paris. In 1992 he received the prestigious Gold Medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers. In 1993, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a major exhibition of his work called “Structure and Expression." In 1998 he was elected to become a member of "Les Arts et Lettres," in Paris. In 2004, he received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

In 2005, Calatrava was awarded the Eugene McDermott Award by the Council for the Arts of MIT. The Award is among the most esteemed arts awards in the US. [Established to honor Eugene McDermott, founder of Texas Instruments and long-time friend and benefactor to MIT, the award was created by the Council for the Arts at MIT in 1974, and further endowed by Eugene's wife, Margaret. Since its inception, the Council has bestowed the award upon 31 individuals producing creative work in the performing, visual and media arts, as well as authors, art historians and patrons of the arts.]

Recent projects

One of his newest projects is a residential skyscraper named 80 South Street after its own address, composed of 10 townhouses in the shape of cubes stacked on top of one another. The townhouses move up a main beam and follow a ladder-like pattern, providing each townhouse with its own roof. The "townhouse in the sky" design has attracted a high profile clientele, willing to pay the hefty US$30 million for each cube. It is planned to be built in New York City's financial district facing the East River. As of 2008 this project had been canceled; the Manhattan real estate market had gone soft, and none of the ten multi-million dollar townhouses had been sold.

He has also designed the approved skyscraper, the Chicago Spire, in Chicago. Originally commissioned by Chicagoan Christopher Carley, Irish developer Garrett Kelleher purchased the building site for the project in July 2006 when Carley's financing plans fell through. Construction of the building began in August 2007 for completion in 2011. When completed, the Chicago Spire, at 2,000 feet tall, will be the tallest building in North America.

Calatrava has also designed three bridges that will eventually span the Trinity River in Dallas. Construction of the first bridge, named after donor Margaret Hunt Hill, has been repeatedly delayed due to high costs, a fact that has sparked much controversy and criticism. If and when completed, Dallas will join the Dutch county of Haarlemmermeer in having three Calatrava bridges.


Calatrava's work in Bilbao has been criticized for impracticality.
The airport lacks facilities and the bridge's glass tiles are prone to break and getting slippery under the local weather." [ Entre losetas y y arquitectos 'estrellas'] ", El Correo, 24 February 2007.] In 2007, Calatrava sued Bilbao" [ Calatrava lleva a los tribunales su guerra con Isozaki por los puentes de Uribitarte] ", El Correo, 22 February 2007.] for allowing Arata Isozaki to remove a bar from the bridge to connect it to the Isozaki Atea towers. The judge ruled against Calatrava saying that, although the building design is protected by intellectual rights laws, public concerns prevail over intellectual property. El juez absuelve al Ayuntamiento de Bilbao de la demanda interpuesta por Santiago Calatrava] ", El Mundo, 26 November 2007.]

Calatrava gifted the Municipality of Venice with the project of a new bridge on the "Canal Grande" in 1996. As of 2007, the project is still under construction and it has gone though numerous structural changes because of the mechanical instability of the structure and the excessive weight of the bridge," [] ",La Repubblica, 07 May 2007.] which would cause the bank of the canal to fail. In 10 years the project has been inspected by more than 8 different consultants and the cost has raised up to three times the original expectations;" [] ",L'Espresso, 08 May 2007.] . The work has been completed on August 2008.

The trainstation Gare do Oriente in Lisbon is known for being very uncomfortable, especially with wind and rainy weather.

Notable works


* Trinity Bridge, footbridge over River Irwell, Salford, England
* Oberbaumbrücke, Berlin, Germany
* Alameda Bridge and metro station, Valencia, Spain
* 1983-1984, Jakem Steel Warehouse, Munchwilen, Switzerland
* 1983-1985, Ernsting Warehouse, Coesfeld, Germany
* 1983-1988, Wohlen High School, Wohlen, Switzerland
* 1983-1990, Stadelhofen Railway Station, Zürich, Switzerland
* 1983-1989, Lucerne Station Hall, Lucerne, Switzerland
* 1984-1987, Bac de Roda Bridge, Barcelona, Spain
* 1984-1988, Barenmatte Community Center, Suhr, Switzerland,
* 1986-1987, Tabourettli Theater, Basel, Switzerland,
* 1987-1992, BCE Place (atrium), Toronto, Canada,
* 1989-1994, TGV Station , Lyon, France
* 1992, "Puente del Alamillo", Seville, Spain
* 1992, "Puente de Lusitania", Mérida, Spain
* 1992, Montjuic Communications Tower at the Olympic Ring, Barcelona, Spain
* 1992, World's Fair, Kuwaiti Pavilion, Seville, Spain
* 1994-1997, Campo Volantin Footbridge, Bilbao, Spain
* 1996, "Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències", Valencia, Spain
* 1998, [ Estação do Oriente] or (Gare do Oriente), Lisbon, Portugal
* 1998, Puente de la Mujer, in the Puerto Madero barrio of Buenos Aires, Argentina
* 2000, New terminal at Bilbao Airport, Bilbao, Spain
* 2001, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
* 2003, James Joyce Bridge, bridge over River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland
* 2003
* 2004, redesign of Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece
* 2004, Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California, USA
* 2004, Three bridges (called Harp, Cittern and Lute) spanning the main canal of the Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
* 2004, University of Zurich, "Bibliothekseinbau" library remodelling, Zürich, Switzerland
* 2005, The bridge connecting the Ovnat shopping mall and the Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson) in Petah Tikva, Israel
* 2005, Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden
* 2007, 3 Bridges on the A1 Motorway and TAV Railway, Reggio Emilia, Italy
* 2008, Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem, Israel, a light rail bridge

Under construction/proposed

* World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York City, U.S.
* Atlanta Symphony Center, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
* Liège-Guillemins TGV Railway Station, Liège, Belgium
* Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos, Oviedo, Spain
* Chicago Spire, Chicago, U.S.
* Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
* City Entrance Bridge, also known as 'Chords Bridge' Jerusalem, Israel
* 80 South Street, 835 foot tall stack of 10 condominium units on New York City's East River, starting at $27 Million each. [ ]
* Medio Padana TAV Station, Reggio Emilia, Italy
* Piazzale Roma Footbridge over the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
* Campus, Maastricht, Netherlands
* Palma de Mallorca's Opera, Spain
* High-rise buildings on stilts on the River Liffey in Dublin []

Calatrava has also submitted designs for a number of notable projects which were eventually awarded to other designers, including the Reichstag in Berlin and the East London River Crossing.

Never built

* 1991 Collserola communications Tower in Barcelona. A tower shaped like a big white spaceship was proposed, but Norman Foster ultimately designed the tower.
* A campus building for Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. His design was dropped for a less expensive design [] .
*New Cathedral for the Diocese of Oakland, California, USA. Preliminary design dropped in favor of that by local architect Craig Hartman (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, San Francisco).


* 1979 August Perret Award
* 1992 London Institution of Structural Engineers Gold Medal
* 1993 Toronto Municipality Urban Design Award
* 1996 Gold Medal for Excellence in the Fine Arts from the Granada Ministry of Culture
* 1999 Prince of Asturias Award in Arts
* 2000 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University
* 2006 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Council for the Arts at MIT,(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
* 2006 Honorary Engineering Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
* 2005 AIA Gold Medal
* Designation as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos
* 2007 Awarded with the Spanish National Architecture Award


A special exhibition has been presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 5, 2006 [] . [ Images from the exhibition.]

Personal life

His nephew Alex Calatrava is a professional tennis player.

His two sons have or are in the process of getting advanced degrees in Engineering from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University in New York City.

ee also




Further reading

*cite book | author=Tzonis, Alexander | title=Santiago Calatrava: The Poetics Of Movement | publisher=Universe | year=1999 | id=ISBN 0-7893-0360-4
*cite book | author=Tzonis, Alexander | title=Santiago Calatrava: The Complete Works | publisher=Rizzoli | year=2004 | id=ISBN 0-8478-2641-4

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Santiago Calatrava News Aggregator]
* [ Great Buildings On-Line: Santiago Calatrava]
* [ Unofficial website]
* [ Extended profile of the architect in the NYRB, December 2005]
* [ "The New Yorker", October 31 2005, "The Sculptor"]
* [,7451,1687371,00.html "The Guardian", January 17th 2006, "The Gaudí Effect"]
* [ Pictures and profile at Specifier]
* [ Many pictures of Calatrava's Art on Trekearth]
* [ Calatrava's 80 South Street condo design for New York]
* [ 120 meters Obelisk project in Madrid]
* [ The CAC and other Urban Projects in Valencia, Spain] article at ErasmusPC
* [ CNN interview with Santiago Calatrava]
* [ Oviedo (Spain) congress center]
* [ The City of Arts and Sciences by Calatrava]

NAME=Calatrava, Santiago
SHORT DESCRIPTION=engineer, architect
DATE OF BIRTH=July 28, 1951
PLACE OF BIRTH=Valencia, Spain

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