Santiago Calatrava

From Academic Kids

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Calatrava is known for his organically inspired designs, such as L'Umbracle at his Ciutat de les Arts i les Cičncies in Valencia. A similar open avenue was designed for the Athens Olympic complex.

Santiago Calatrava (born July 28, 1951) is a Spanish architect whose work has become increasingly popular worldwide.

Calatrava was born in 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. Calatrava was influenced by the French architect Le Corbusier, whose Notre Dame du Haut chapel caused Calatrava to examine how complex form could be understood and generated in architecture. In 1981 after completing his doctoral thesis, "On the Foldability of Space Frames", he started his architecture and engineering practice.

Calatrava's unique, creative, and highly influential style combines a striking visual architectural style that interacts harmoniously with the rigid principles of engineering. His work often draws on form and structure found in the natural world, and can be described as anthropomorphic. His works have elevated the design of some civil engineering projects such as bridges to new heights. He has designed numerous train stations, heralded for their bright, open, and easily-traveled spaces.

While he is primarily known as an architect, Calatrava is also a prolific sculptor and painter, claiming that the practice of architecture combines all the arts into one.

One of his newest projects is a residential skyscraper composed of 12 townhouses in the shapes 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 will be built in New York City's financial district facing the East River.


Notable works


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The inside of the main Olympic stadium in Athens with Calatrava's sliding suspended roof.
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The Olympic Velodrome one of many building Calatrava designed for the Athens Olympics.

Under construction

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. The East London River Crossing, in particular, was a very elegant and bold design which was considered by most to be a far more worthy design to the one actually built.


  • 2005 AIA Gold Medal

External links


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