Calatrava, Santiago

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Calatrava, Santiago

Santiago Calatrava, 1951–, Spanish architect, b. Benimamet, near Valencia. He studied at the Institute of Architecture, Valencia (grad. 1974), and at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich (Ph.D., 1981). He opened his own architectural and engineering practice in Zürich in 1981 and later expanded to Valencia and Paris. Influenced by the work of Eero Saarinen, Calatrava has become known for the arching sculptural forms of his large public buildings. These structures—railway stations, bridges, airports, and museums—are built of concrete, metal, and glass and are rarely completely enclosed. The unusual spaces and swooping shapes of these works, which often seem poised for flight, reflect a refined aesthetic sensibility informed by engineering skill. Among his most notable commissions are the Stadelhofen Railway Station, Zürich (1984); Lyons Airport Terminal, France (1994); Campo Volantin Footbridge, Bilbao, Spain (1998); Science City, Valencia, Spain (2000); and the opera house, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands (2003). Motion is often important in his work, as in his first American building, the Milwaukee Art Museum's Quadracci Pavilion (2001), which includes louvered sunscreens that rise from the building like giant wings, opening and closing to control light. Calatrava is also known for his drawings and sculpture, which have been exhibited in numerous galleries since 1985.

See his Dynamic Equilibrium, Recent Projects (1996) and Conversations with Students: The MIT Lectures (2002); studies by D. Sharp, ed. (1994), K. Frampton, ed. (1996), S. Polano (1996, tr. 1999), A. Tzonis (1996), S. van Moos, ed. (1998), L. Molinari, ed. (1999); P. Jodidio (2001), A. Cuito, ed. (2002), and M. Levin (2002).

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