Santiago Calatrava

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Santiago Calatrava (2010)
Santiago Calatrava has the coat of arms of the Order of Calatrava on his private stationery

Santiago Calatrava Valls (born July 28, 1951 in Valencia ) is a Spanish-Swiss architect , civil engineer and artist .


Santiago Calatrava Valls, descending from a Spanish noble family, was born in the Benimàmet district. He graduated from school and high school in his hometown. He then studied architecture from 1969 to 1973, also in Valencia at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura with a postgraduate degree in urban studies and then from 1975 to 1979 civil engineering at the ETH Zurich . In 1981 Calatrava received his doctorate with Herbert Kramel at the ETH Zurich on the subject of "On the foldability of half-timbered structures" . In 1992 he received the gold medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers .

In 1980 he opened his Santiago Calatrava AG office in Zurich . A second office was opened in Paris in 1989 . Another one followed in Valencia, which was closed in 2012. In 2012 he relocated the headquarters of his asset management company Calatrava & Family Investments to Switzerland and founded Calatrava Immobilien AG . In 2009 he founded En Archi AG in Zurich .

Calatrava lives and works in Zurich and New York .


Thanks to his engineering knowledge, Calatrava specialized in the construction of bridges . The Puente del Alamillo in Seville , a cable-stayed bridge that the architect designed for Expo 92 , has become famous . Calatrava is also known for the renovation and construction of what are often futuristic stations: Zürich Stadelhofen station (1990), one of his most important early works, Liège-Guillemins station (2009), Lyon-Saint-Exupéry TGV station (1994), PATH (2016). A new Calatrava building at Zurich's Stadelhofen train station, in the form of a triangle, should be ready in 2022.

By combining his engineering knowledge with a functional, organic- futuristic design approach , Calatrava repeatedly projects technically spectacular buildings. Most of his buildings stand out due to the sculptural effect of their supporting structure. Often parallels are drawn to natural structures ( foliage , skeletons or wings ). The elegant design language makes his work immediately recognizable, but it is criticized by critics because the task and function of the respective building cannot be read. However, his buildings are generally popular with the general public. Calatrava often draws the first preliminary drafts of his buildings in the stylized form of animals as rough sketches and gradually simplifies them until a rough draft of the building can be recognized. These sketches are usually also published.

Calatrava designed the interchange station ( World Trade Center (PATH station) ) at Ground Zero in New York with a characteristic hall called "Oculus", which was opened in March 2016 - subject to professional and media criticism, as the costs went from two to almost four Billions of dollars had risen and construction had been delayed for years. This affected Calatrava's reputation in the United States, where he has not received any assignments since.

Also at Ground Zero, Calatrava won the competition for the successor to the destroyed Greek Orthodox St. Nicholas Church . On October 14, 2014, the foundations of the St. Nicholas National Shrine were dedicated at the 9/11 Memorial ; On the occasion, Calatrava explained that for the church he was going back to the model of Hagia Sophia : Like the Parthenon for the classical architecture of antiquity , this forms the paradigm of orthodox architecture; For him, Hagia Sophia is the “Parthenon of Orthodoxy”. The neo-Byzantine domed church quotes the 40 windows of the dome of Hagia Sophia through 40 dome ribs; The mosaics of Hagia Sophia also served as inspiration for Calatrava. Other models for the building, the Chora church and the rotunda in Thessaloniki , also come from Byzantine architecture . Calatrava's watercolor sketches of St. Nicolas were exhibited in the Benaki Museum in Athens in 2015 . St. Nicholas is the only non-secular structure on the site of the 9/11 Memorial in Liberty Park. The external facade made of white marble is illuminated from the inside.

Calatrava designed a tower in Dubai that towers over the Burj Khalifa and is therefore the tallest structure in the world. The Tower (Dubai) , also called Dubai Creek Tower , which is under construction and resembling a rocket in shape, should be completed by 2024 at the latest, i.e., unlike planned, after Expo 2020 , which has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic be.

In February 2014, Calatrava was sentenced to 2.96 million euros in damages by the regional court there for “poor work” at the Congress Palace in Oviedo .


Calatrava met his future wife Robertina during their studies, the couple are parents of three sons and one daughter. The son Gabriel Calatrava is also an architect.


Sorting in ascending order by year of completion, then start of construction:

Completion unclear or uncertain / open:


"No matter what role mathematics and engineering play in Calatrava's work, it is art and emotion that allow him to create works that go far beyond the sober calculation of forces."

- Philip Jodido in: Philip Jodido, Santiago Calatrava. 1951. Architect, engineer, artist . Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2007 (front cover)

"Gravity is to an engineer what colors are to a painter."

- Santiago Calatrava in the episode about the Turning Torso of the documentary series "Fascination Skyscrapers" ZDF (2009)

Memberships, honors and awards

  • Member of the Swiss Association of Engineers and Architects (SIA) (1982)
  • Member of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) (1982)
  • Member of the Federation of Swiss Architects (BSA) (1987)
  • Member of the International Academy of Architecture (IAA), Sofia (1987)
  • Honorary member of the Association of German Architects (BDA) (1989)
  • Honorary member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos, Valencia (1992)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (1993)
  • Honorary member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London (1993)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Universidad de Sevilla (1994)
  • Honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University , Edinburgh (1994)
  • Honorary member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects (RIAS), Edinburgh (1994)
  • Honorary member of the Colegio de Arquitectos, Mexico City (1995)
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Salford , England (1995)
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Strathclyde , Glasgow, Scotland (1996)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Milwaukee School of Engineering, Wisconsin (1997)
  • Honorary doctorate from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) (1997)
  • Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1998)
  • Honorary doctorate Università degli Studi di Cassino, Italy (1999)
  • Honorary doctorate from Lund University , Sweden (1999)
  • Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), Stockholm (1999)
  • Grand Officer of the Order of Merit , Portugal (1999)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Italy (2000)
  • Honorary member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, College of Fellows in Ottawa (2000)
  • Member of the Institute for Urban Design, New York (2000)
  • Honorary Member of the National Academy of Architecture, Monterrey (2000)
  • Guest of Honor (Gobierno del Distrito Federal) of Mexico City (2000)
  • Honorary membership of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid (2000)
  • Medalla al Mérito a las Bellas Artes, Real Academia de San Carlos de Valencia, Valencia (2003)
  • Honorary doctorate from Technion , Haifa (2004)
  • Permanent Guest of Honor of the University of Zurich (2005)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Southern Methodist University , Dallas, Texas (2005)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2005)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , Troy, New York (2006)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Columbia University , New York (2007)
  • Honorary doctorate Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa from Tel Aviv University (2008)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Camilo José Cela, Madrid (2009)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Université de Liège , Liège (2010)
  • Honorary Citizenship of Liège (2010)
  • Membership in the Pontifical Council for Culture (2011)
  • Honorary Doctorate from the Pratt Institute , New York (2012)
  • Honorary Doctorate The Georgia Institute, Atlanta (2013)
  • European Architecture Prize (2015)
  • Member of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Literature (2019)


  • Santiago Calatrava Valls: On the foldability of half-timbered structures, Zurich 1981, DNB 211934534 (dissertation ETH Zurich 1981, 254 pages).


  • Information center for space and construction of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Klaus Kaier: Architects - Santiago Calatrava (= IRB literature selection , no. 2765), IRB, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-8167-2689-5 .
  • Marc Bonner: Architecture of distant worlds: Santiago Calatrava's sculptural understanding of architecture and the imagery of his buildings in advertising, film, music, computer games and fashion (= art studies , volume 184). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin / Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-422-07297-8 (Dissertation University Saarbrücken 2013, 318 pages).
  • Philip Jodido: Calatrava Santiago Calatrava complete works 1979–2009. Taschen, Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-8365-1023-3 (text in German / English / French).
  • Bernhard Klein, Michael Robinson (English translation), Paolo Rosselli (photos), Axel Menges (ed.) Bahnhof Stadelhofen, Zurich / Santiago Calatrava. Wasmuth, Tübingen / Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-8030-2710-1 . (German English)
  • Sergio Polano, Santiago Calatrava (Illustrator): Santiago Calatrava, complete works . DVA , Stuttgart 1997 , ISBN 3-421-03138-X .
  • Alexander Tzonis: Santiago Calatrava, The Athens Olympics . Rizzoli, New York 2005, ISBN 0-8478-2789-5 .
  • Michael S. Cullen, Martin Kieren, Heinrich Helfenstein (photos), Santiago Calatrava (illustrator): Calatrava: Berlin. Five projects . Birkhäuser, Basel 1994, ISBN 3-7643-2985-8 (German, English).
  • Michael Levin: Santiago Calatrava- the artworks, a laboratory of ideas, forms and structures (Translat. From Hebr. Into English: Vivianne Barsky), Birkhäuser, Basel 2003, ISBN 978-3-7643-6548-6 .
  • Philip Jodidio, Peter Gössel (editor), Caroline Behlen (translator): illustrated book. Catalog raisonné 1983–2015, Santiago Calatrava: Architect, Engineer, Artist , Taschen, Cologne 2016, ISBN 978-3-8365-3561-8 .


Web links

Commons : Santiago Calatrava  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The 300 richest 2016 in: Bilanz (journal) from December 2016
  2. Star architect Calatrava publishes asset management , Berner Zeitung, December 18, 2012
  3. NZZ online, Nov. 14, 2015 An interview with architect Santiago Calatrava
  4. , accessed on August 1, 2020
  5. , accessed on August 1, 2020
  6. ^ How Cost of Train Station at World Center swelled to 4. Billion. In: The New York Times , December 2, 2014.
  7. ^ World Trade Center Station's Troubles Take Toll on Architect - 'I have been treated like a dog,' says architect Santiago Calatrava. In: The Washington Post , May 19, 2015.
  8. ^ The Saint Nicholas National Shrine at World Trade Center. In: (English).
  9. From Inspiration to Rendering: The Architecture of the St. Nicholas National Shrine at World Trade Center. In: (English); Hagia Sophia Spirit Abound in Calatrava's St. Nicholas Ground Zero Church design. In: The National Herald , March 8, 2014 (English).
  10. Santiago Calatrava: The Rebirth of Saint Nicolas Church on Ground Zero. In: The Huffington Post , September 22, 2015.
  11. Dubai is planning a new tallest building in the world. In: Spiegel Online , April 10, 2016.
  12. , accessed on August 1, 2020
  13. Star architect Calatrava sentenced to a million dollar fine. In: Handelszeitung , February 7, 2014.
  14. Santiago Calatrava (Zurich) on plant in New York Ground Zero. Retrieved August 9, 2020 .
  15. Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife ( Memento of the original of March 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. ^ Emergency Services Center St. Gallen
  17. ^ University of Zurich: RWI library
  18. University of Zurich: Alumni House ( Memento of the original from October 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. Samuel Beckett Bridge press information ( Memento of the original from August 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. ^ La Repubblica, July 17, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2012
  21. Der Standard, October 13, 2015 Santiago Calatrava honored with European Architecture Prize
  22. ^ Nomina di Membri Ordinari della Pontificia Insigne Accademia di Belle Arti e Lettere dei Virtuosi al Pantheon. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , February 26, 2019, accessed February 26, 2019 (Italian).