Sunday, March 16, 2008

Great Architects - Santiago Calatrava

Architect, artist, and engineer Santiago Calatrava was born on July 28, 1951, in the town of Benimamet, near Valencia, Spain. He attended primary and secondary school in Valencia and then enrolled in the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura, a relatively new institution, where he earned a degree in architecture and took a post-graduate course in urbanism.

Attracted by the mathematical rigor of certain great works of historic architecture, and feeling that his training in Valencia had given him no clear direction, Calatrava decided to pursue post-graduate studies in civil engineering and enrolled in 1975 a the ETH (Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich. He received his Ph.D. in 1979. It was during this period that he met and married his wife, who was a law student in Zurich.

After completing his studies, he began to enter competitions, believing this was his most likely way to secure commissions. His first winning competition proposal, in 1983, was for the design and construction of Stadelhofen Railway Station in Zurich, the city in which he established his office.

In 1984, Calatrava won the competition to design and build the Bach de Roda Brdige, commissioned for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. This was the beginning of the bridge projects that established his international reputation. Among the other notable bridges that followed were the Alamillio Bridge viaduct, commissioned for the World's Fair in Seville (1987-92); Campo Volantin Footbridge in Bilbao (1990-97); and Alameda Bridge and underground station in Valencia (1991-95).

Calatrava established his firm's second office, in Paris, in 1989, when he was working on the Lyon Airport Station (1989-94). He opened his third office, in Valencia, in 1991 to facilitate work on a very large cultural complex and urban intervention, the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia (ongoing). Other large-scale public projects from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s include the BCE Place mall in Toronto (1987-92); the Oriente railway station in Lisbon (1993-98, commissioned for Expo '98); and the winning proposal in the design competition to complete the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City (1991), a project that has not been realized.

Exhibitions of Calatrava's work include a retrospective at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London, in 1992, and the exhibition Structure and Expression at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1993. The latter exhibition included an installation in the museum's Sculpture Garden of Shadow Machine, a large-scale sculpture with undulating concrete "fingers." The most complete exhibition was Santiago Calatrava: Artist, Architect, Engineer at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy (2000-2001).

Major projects that were recently inaugurated include Sondica Airport, Bilbao (2000); The Bridge of Europe, Orleans, France (2000); the Bodegas Ysios winery in Laguardia, Spain (2001); Calatrava's first building in the United States, the acclaimed expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum (2001); the James Joyce Bridge, Dublin, Ireland (2003); and Tenerife Auditorium, Santa Cruz, Canary Islands (2003).

Among the projects that are currently coming to completion are Petach Tikvah Bridge, Tel Aviv, Israel; Quatro Ponte sul Canal Grande, Venice, Italy; Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding California; the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (summer 2004); and the Valencia Opera House (2005), the last major building in Santiago Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences.

Recent commissions include the design of Symphony Center for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia, and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City.

Many Honors and Awards are given to Santiago Calatrava and 12 Honorary Doctorates until today.

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