The Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has revitalized not only the art of bridge building. All of his structures go beyond more function to become sculptural elements contributing to the quality of built environment. The present work, which follows Calatrava Bridges is a definitive study authorized by the architect. By examining the nature of each project site and the often complex political realities attendant to building, it demonstrates how the architectural work of Santiago Calatrava has reestablished the importance of urban infrastructure to urban design.
Calatrava secured his reputation with Zurich's Stadelhofen Station (1982-1990). It is a reputation which has continued to grow with other innovative projects such as the BCE Galleria in Toronto (1987-1992); Lyon Airport Station (1989-1994); a project for a bio-shelter and the completion of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1991), New York; Tenerife Concert Hall, under construction; and the current extension of the Milwaukee Art Museum. But it was with his competition entry for the conversion of the Reichstag Building in Berlin (Joint 1st Prize, 1992) that gained the attention of the international community at large.
The explicitly urban approach to any task is characteristic of Calatrava's work. Whether bus shelter, bridge or airport terminal, what underlies Calatrava's approach is a quest for a deeper understanding of the static forces at work, to which he gives unprecedented expression. This constant experimentation and inquiry has led to solutions that are inventive and undisputedly elegant.