Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava BIO - portrait.jpgSantiago Calatrava portrat. Photo © Jonathan Becker  

By Kirsten Kiser

Santiago Calatrava was born in 1951 near Valencia, Spain. He studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and after graduating in 1974, structural engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. In 1981 he established his own architecture and engineering firm in Zürich. Later he opened offices in Paris, Valencia, and New York.

Calatrava's designs suggest stylized natural objects - waves, wings, or sun-bleached skeletons. Buildings open like the wings of birds and apartment towers twists like the human torso. He uses steel and concrete and the latest computer technology to create what appears to be both natural and structurally impossible.

His Bac de Roda Bridge in Barcelona, completed in 1987, was the beginning of a series of bridge projects that established his international reputation.

Calatrava's largest project, the City of Arts and Sciences, set in the old dried-up river bed in Valencia, covers an area of 350,000 square meters. Built between 1998 and 2005 the architectural ensemble, surrounded by shallow pools, is comprised of L'Hemisfèric, the Science Museum Principe Felipe, L'Umbracle, and the Palacio de las Artes. Calatrava used pure white concrete and Gaudiesque fragments of shattered tiles, an important Valencian industry, to tie all the structures together.

Since then Calatrava has completed dozens of buildings and bridges around the world, and many more are in the works. His designs are immediately recognizable, and often look like they are about to take flight. Like the Sondica Airport in Bilbao, nicknamed La Paloma (the dove), the Quadracci Pavilion in Milwaukee, and the soon to open World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City.

Calatrava's immense structures begin with small gestures in a sketchbook. He considers his drawings and sculptures to be inextricably linked, bridging the gap between art and architecture.

Calatrava BIO - Turning Torso.jpgStudy for Turning Torso 1999 - 2004. Photo sketch  © Santiago Calatrava

I venerate the human body, which I keep drawing and drawing and drawing. I think it is much easier to read the purity of form in drawing and in sculpture than to read it in the buildings themselves."Santiago Calatrava,  Architectural Record interview by Robert Ivy


Innovation, Science & Technology Building by Santiago Calatrava in Lakeland, Florida, USA
Image courtesy Santiago Calatrava, LLC.
Open Roof
May 14, 2012 /

Innovation, Science & Technology Building
Santiago Calatrava
Lakeland, Florida, USA

Santiago Calatrava was selected in 2009 to create the master plan for the new Florida Polytechnic campus, and to design the first building to be constructed on the new campus.

Museum of Tomorrow by Santiago Calatrava in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Image courtesy Santiago Calatrava, LLC.
November 15, 2010 /

Museum of Tomorrow
Santiago Calatrava
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The sustainably-focused museum is part of the ambitious "Marvelous Port" urban design project, which will transform Rio's historical waterfront into a thriving cultural and residential community.

Liège Guillemins TGV Station by Santiago Calatrava in Liège, Belgium
Photo © Thomas Mayer
November 02, 2009 /

Liège Guillemins TGV Station
Santiago Calatrava
Liège, Belgium

Liège is a major node in the European high speed rail network; an indispensable link between London, Paris, Brussels and Germany.

Light Rail Train Bridge by Santiago Calatrava in Jerusalem, Israel
Photo: Sasson Tiram
July 21, 2008 /

Light Rail Train Bridge
Santiago Calatrava
Jerusalem, Israel

The Light Rail Train Bridge is located near the Eastern Gate to the old City of Jerusalem, considered as the "modern entrance" to the city.

Puente de la Mujer by Santiago Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava, LLC
June 25, 2007 /

Puente de la Mujer
Santiago Calatrava
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The old harbor of Buenos Aires, Puerto Madero, is currently being transformed into a new commercial and residential center and tourist area.

Tor Vergata University (Roma II) by Santiago Calatrava in Rome, Italy
Image courtesy Santiago Calatrava, LLC
April 02, 2007 /

Tor Vergata University (Roma II)
Santiago Calatrava
Rome, Italy

Ground has been broken for a new Campus Master Plan, Sports City and Rectorate Tower.

Three Bridges over the Hoofdvaart by Santiago Calatrava in Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands
Photos courtesy of Santiago Calatrava Archives
March 05, 2007 /

Three Bridges over the Hoofdvaart
Santiago Calatrava
Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands

Common elements shared by all three bridges, indicate that these separate structures belong to one family.

Turning Torso by Santiago Calatrava in Malmö, Sweden
Photo: arcspace
September 05, 2005 /

Turning Torso
Santiago Calatrava
Malmö, Sweden

The 190 meter tall concrete and steel tower turns 90 degrees from bottom to top.

Atlanta Symphony Center rendering
Image courtesy Santiago Calatrava S.A.
February 25, 2005 /

Atlanta Symphony Center
Santiago Calatrava
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The new Atlanta Symphony Center will provide the first dedicated concert hall and educational facility in the 60-year history of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble that enjoys international prominence under Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles.

Tenerife Concert Hall by Santiago Calatrava, Canary Islands, Spain 
Photo © Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava
April 26, 2004 /

Tenerife Concert Hall
Santiago Calatrava
Canary Islands, Spain

The auditorium is located on the waterfront in the Los Llanos are of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.

Santiago Calatrava - Athens Olympic Sports Complex - Exterior
February 07, 2003 /

Athens Olympic Sports Complex
Santiago Calatrava
Athens, Greece

The new Olympic Sports Complex will provide a permanent center for athletic and cultural events within an ecologically sustainable park-like setting, served by an upgraded transportation system.

Lyon-Satolas TGV Station by Santiago Calatrava in Lyon, France
Photo: arcspace
January 06, 2003 /

Lyon-Satolas TGV Station
Santiago Calatrava
Lyon, France

The Lyon-Satolas Station is the terminus for the TGV trains connecting the airport to the city of Lyon, 30 kilometers to the south.

Santiago Calatrava
Sondika Airport
Bilbao, Spain
June 10, 2002 /

Sondika Airport
Santiago Calatrava
Bilbao, Spain

With his design, that is both visually striking and structurally daring, Calatrava puts the joy back into contemporary travel.

Santiago Calatrava - City of Arts and Sciences - Aerial view
January 14, 2002 /

City of Arts and Sciences
Santiago Calatrava
Valencia, Spain

The City of Arts and Sciences, developed by Santiago Calatrava, is a large-scale urban recreation center for culture and science.

The Milwaukee Art Museum by Santiago Calatrava in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava Archive
July 09, 2001 /

The Milwaukee Art Museum
Santiago Calatrava
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

The Milwaukee Art Museum, which overlooks Lake Michigan, was partially housed in a building designed in 1957 by Eero Saarinen as a war memorial.

La Rioja, Bodegas Ysios by Santiago Calatrava in Laguardia, Álava, Spain
Photo: arcspace
November 01, 2000 /

La Rioja, Bodegas Ysios
Santiago Calatrava
Laguardia, Álava, Spain

The building is conceived as an element completely integrated in the surrounding landscape and, at the same time, as an autonomous site-specific sculpture.

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