This lecture explores Calatrava's works. It takes us from Switzerland through Europe to
the Canary Islands and Canada, but it begins in Valencia where he was born, educated, and began his training. Valencia is one of those surprising cities, a complement to Barcelona and which, like Barcelona, has rediscovered its history and its youth in the past twenty years. There you will find a bridge, an opera house, and museums - a veritable city of arts and sciences by him.
Is Calatrava to Valencia what Gaudí is to Barcelona? He might like us to think so.
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 and Valencia.
Calatrava was born in Benimámet, an old municipality now integrated as an 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.
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 (far left), 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 (centre)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) (right, above), 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 is also a prolific sculptor and painter, claiming that the practice of architecture combines all the arts into one. In 2003, 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.