Architect Santiago Calatrava Essay

2236 words - 9 pages

Santiago Calatrava.Calatrava is known worldwide for his architectural designs and sculptures, which combine fluid, almost aerial forms with strongly functional structure. "Wave" reflects the creative combination of engineering and movement that is the hallmark of Calatrava's great architectural projects.Architect, artist, and engineer Santiago Calatrava was born on July 28, 1951, in the town of Benimamet, near Valencia, Spain. Calatrava family on both sides was engaged in the agricultural export business, which gave them an international outlook that was rare during the Franco dictatorship. Calatrava attended primary and secondary school in Valencia. From the age of eight, he also attended the Arts and Crafts School, where he began his formal instruction in drawing and painting. When he was thirteen, his family took advantage of the recent opening of the borders and sent him to Paris as an exchange student. He later travelled and studied in Switzerland as well. Upon completing high school in Valencia, he went to Paris with the intention of enrolling in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; but, since he arrived in June 1968, he found his plan was unworkable. He returned to Valencia and 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. While at the school, he also undertook independent projects with a group of fellow students, bringing out two books on the vernacular architecture of Valencia and Ibiza. 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 at 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, Calatrava took a position as an assistant at the ETH and began to accept small engineering commissions, such as designing the roof for a library or the balcony of a private residence. He also 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. Calatrava's challenge at Stadelhofen was to accommodate a new third track in an existing train station built for 300 meters along a curved railway line running round a hillside in the town center. Calatrava's design has excavated the hillside to add the track, and then built the hillside back with a multilevel structure that restores the walkways and bank above, while providing an open, naturally lit platform underneath for the new track. While the station is largely hidden from view as you approach from the town centre, there are a...

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