Santiago Calatrava has long been a cult architect of our time, and his birthday today, July 28, was an excellent occasion to once again remember this.
During his 66 years of life, he realized more than 70 architectural objects, many of which become symbols of attraction in the cities where they are built.
Not surprisingly, in 2005 he was included in Time magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Santiago Calatrava – life path
Calatrava was born in the suburbs of Valencia. From childhood, the boy was creative, and therefore went to art school. However, the real business of life for him was architecture.
He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Valencia, after which he continued his education in Zurich, where he learned the basics of engineering. In this Swiss city, the young architect began his independent practice.
At first, the architect took on any orders. For example, one of the first structures designed was a hangar in a small Swiss town.
Everything changed the October 9 bridge in Valencia and the railway station in Zurich. The success of these projects led to an increase in orders and popularity in their circles.
Calatrava finally established himself in the status of the top after the summer Olympics in Barcelona.
His project of a television tower in this city brought incredible popularity and a series of orders that do not stop to this day.
Santiago Calatrava brought back the fashion for organic architecture, he is considered the best follower of the great Gaudí.
Both are united not only by genius and Spanish origin, but also by the desire to consider architecture as part of the environment.
Draw inspiration and forms from nature, believing that the most complex designs have already been implemented without human intervention.
The Spanish architect, without denying the influence of computers, considers a pencil to be the best way to materialize an idea.
He also loves sculpture very much – some of his projects were first sculpted in the form of sculpture, and then recreated in the language of architecture and construction.
The best example of this is the Malmö skyscraper Turning Torso.
Taking as a basis the sculpture, which consisted of 7 cubes, he recreated the shape in the building, though using already 9 cubic sections, keeping the angle of inclination so that there was an angle of 90 degrees between the first and ninth cube.
In the sculpture, the cubes are twisted around the rod, in the building around the reinforced concrete structures, where stairs and an elevator shaft were also placed.
The building is designed in such a way that even if a floor or section fails, the rest of the skyscraper will function as before.
Also, the skyscraper is equipped with modern sources of autonomous energy, and its height (190m) allows it to remain the tallest building in Scandinavia and the second tallest in Europe.
Before the creation of the project for the television tower in Barcelona, the model was also preceded by a sculpture of a man giving fire up to the sky.
The public liked the project so much that at the Athens Olympics in 2004, Calatrava was invited again.
Santiago Calatrava is considered to be the inventor of bridges on one support, this has been the custom since the mid-90s and is relevant today.
There are completely unique ones, like the Puente de la Mujer bridge in Argentina, which has a 90-degree turn and allows ships to move freely through the water.
Santiago Calatrava is quite calm about the popularity around his name. In his New York office, a “mustermann” (designer) sign hangs on the office door.
It can often be seen in public transport. He himself admitted in his interviews that he has an annual pass for public transport in New York and Zurich, where he prefers to use the subway and trams.
Thus, the architect observes the city and people, tries not to break away from everyday life, to better understand the needs of a person.
No ostentatious asceticism, he also loves and appreciates cars, but combines them with public transport.
Several dozen universities from around the world awarded Calatrava the status of Doctor Honoris Causa for his contribution to culture and science.