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Santiago Calatrava

July 29, 2001 /

Form & Design Center
Malmö, Sweden
On view: June 27, 2001 - September 16, 2001

To me, there are two overriding principles to be found in nature which are most appropriate for building; one is the optimal use of material, the other the capacity of organisms to change shape, to grow, and to move./Santiago Calatrava

Seeing the Malmø exhibition with the many sketches and models makes it very clear that Calatrava's constructions are inspired by natural forms like plants, bird wings, and the human body.

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The Oriente Station
Lisbon, Portugal
A large forest of metal trees, like a row of cut-out muscle men, rise on a pedestal to cover the space of the station.

Calatrava first won attention as an architect of bridges, 47 so far, that can be found from Bilbao to Berlin, London to Toronto, and now Orléans, where the 1,550 feet long Europe Bridge spans the Loire.

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Photo courtesy Calatrava
Europe Bridge (1996 - 2000)
Orléans, France
Bridge over the Loire River which link the communities of Saint-Jean de la Ruelle to the North and Saint-Pryvé Saint-Mesmin to the South

Calatrava's dynamic designs integrate technology and aesthetics producing structural forms that challenge traditional practice in both architecture and engineering.

He is an organic architect who finds his inspiration in the human body and in nature and, because of his background in both architecture and engineering, he has learned to combine sculptural concepts with technology to create designs that are both visually striking and structurally daring.

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Photo courtesy Calatrava  The TGV Station at the Lyon-Satolas airport, France has the tension of a bird about to take-off.

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Photo courtesy CalatravaFor the Museum of Science - City of Science in Valencia, Spain the latticework of the south facade adopts the figure of a large bone structure, reminiscent of the gigantic remains of the last dinosaurs.

His engineering background and work with sculptural models and mathematical formulas has enabled him to experiment with kinetic architecture. Many of his bridges open, the Planetarium in Valencia, which resembles an eye, has metal sides that can be lowered to suggest eyelids, his design for the new cathedral in Oakland allows the roof to open and close like two hands in prayer and the transparent atrium in the newly completed Milwaukee Art Museum Santiago Calatrava. The Milwaukee Art Museum is enclosed by a large "brise soleil" which opens and closes like the wings of a bird.

If you have technical knowledge, it's much easier to convey your emotions through the automaticism that technique gives you./Santiago Calatrava

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Photo courtesy Calatrava  The City of Science - Planetarium (1996 - 1998)Valencia, Spain

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Photo courtesy Calatrava  The Milwaukee Art Museum (completed 2001)Milwaukee, Wisconsin

At the opening of the exhibition Santiago Calatrava spoke about how inspiring it has been to visit "the white north" and how Malmø, with its green parks and its location by the sea, has been a very poetic experience.

He feels "hemma" (at home) in Sweden.

He thanked his Turning Torso Santiago Calatrava. Turning Torso Malmø client, HSV, for having the courage to use the very latest in technology for a residential building.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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