WTC Hub New York City Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava – 6 Interesting Facts

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Santiago Calatrava is a Spanish architect famous for his dramatic, sculptural structures. With his knowledge of art and science, he creates some of the most unique landmarks in existence. His most identifying works include rib cage-like buildings and seemingly impossible bridges. Behind the daring architectural feats, here are the following facts:

Gare do Oriente Lisbon Portugal Santiago Calatrava
The front entrance of Gare do Oriente, a train station in Lisbon, Portugal

1. Calatrava began his career in sculpture.

  • He studied sculpting, painting, and drawing at the School of Fine Arts starting at age eight.
  • Calatrava derived his architectural ideas from sculpting. He worked by combining the expressiveness of sculpture with the function of architecture.
Gare do Oriente (Platform) Lisbon Portugal Santiago Calatrava
The train platform of the Gare do Oriente in Lisbon, Portugal

2. Some regard Calatrava as the modern Da Vinci.

  • After earning his architectural degree, he studied urban planning. He was under the tutelage of esteemed architect Juan Carlos Jimenez.
  • Calatrava studied structural engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He received a Ph.D. in technical science.
Santiago Calatrava Portrait at Work
Portrait of Santiago Calatrava at work

3. His family pushed him to seek his future outside of Spain.

  • The Calatravas suffered from political attacks during Spain’s dictatorship in the 1930s. To protect him, they sent thirteen-year-old Santiago to Paris as an exchange student.
  • Today, Calatrava is fluent in seven languages. His engineering and architecture firm has offices in Zürich, Valencia, Paris, and New York.
L'Hemisferic Planetarium City of Arts and Sciences Santiago Calatrava
L’Hemisferic Planetarium in the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

4. He earned international acclaim for designing mind-boggling bridges.

  • The Alamillo Bridge in Spain is composed of a single pylon and thirteen cables. The asymmetrical and striking structure resembles a harp, swan, or ship’s mast.
  • The Sundial Bridge across the Sacramento River is a functioning sundial. It casts a shadow that moves one foot per minute and has no supports in the water to preserve the river’s salmon habitat.
Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay Sacramento River
The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay Park along Sacramento River in Redding, California

5. Calatrava designs buildings based on natural and animal forms.

  • His first civic commission is to expand the Zürich Stadelhofen railway station. His design was inspired by the rib cage of a dog skeleton given to him by a veterinary student.
  • His design for the Milwaukee Art Museum includes a sunshade that resembles the wings of a bird. The movable shade, which controls the lighting within, mimics the flapping motion.
Milwaukee Art Museum Santiago Calatrava
Milwaukee Art Museum in the state of Wisconsin, USA

6. Calatrava’s projects are sometimes too costly to build.

  • Some governments had to drop commissions due to Calatrava’s hundred million price tags.
  • Calatrava was set to create the Chicago Spire which was to be the world’s tallest skyscraper. The project was abandoned in 2008 due to the inflated $1.2 billion cost, as well as the economic recession.
WTC Hub New York City Santiago Calatrava
WTC Hub in New York City stands across the memorial site of the Twin Towers

Santiago Calatrava’s union of supposedly contradictory principles has created awe-inspiring structures. His creations serve as an inspiration for many to also reach for the skies.

References

Britannica.com
NotableBiographies.com
UKEssays.com
TurtleBay.org

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