peoplepill id: santiago-calatrava
3 views today
4 views this week
Santiago Calatrava
Spanish engineer and architect

Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Spanish engineer and architect
A.K.A. Santiago Calatrava Valls
Is Civil engineer Engineer Artist Sculptor Architect Structural engineer
From Spain
Type Arts Engineering
Gender male
Birth 28 July 1951, Benimàmet, Valencia
Age 70 years
Star sign Leo
Santiago Calatrava
The details (from wikipedia)


Santiago Calatrava Valls (born 28 July 1951) is a Spanish neofuturistic architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter. He has offices in New York City, Doha, and Zürich.

Early life and education

Calatrava was born in Benimàmet, an old municipality now integrated as an urban part of Valencia, Spain. His mother's family were of Jewish heritage, but had nominally converted during the Spanish Inquisition of the fifteenth century. "His Calatrava surname was an old aristocratic one from medieval times, and was once associated with an order of knights in Spain. Both sides of his family were involved in the agricultural export business. Members of his father's family suffered during the turmoil of the 1930s, when a bloody civil war resulted in a military dictatorship, and as a young man Calatrava was eager to leave behind the repressive atmosphere that endured."

He received a degree in architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where he completed independent projects with fellow students, publishing two books on the vernacular architecture of Valencia and Ibiza. In 1975 he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland for a second degree in civil engineering. In 1981, after receiving his doctorate in civil engineering for his thesis "On the Foldability of Space Frames," he started his architecture and engineering practice.

He has two sons with his wife Eilissa, Marco and Edgardo.


The Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts in Valencia, Spain in 2014

Calatrava's early career was largely dedicated to bridges and railway stations, with designs that elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona, Spain (1991) in the heart of the 1992 Olympics site, as well as the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1992), were important works and turning points in his career, leading to a wide range of commissions. The Quadracci Pavilion (2001) of the Milwaukee Art Museum was his first building in the United States. Calatrava's entry into high-rise design began with an innovative 54-story-high twisting tower called Turning Torso (2005), located in Malmö, Sweden.

Calatrava has designed a neofuturistic railway station, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, at the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City. The new PATH station and the associated transit and retail complex opened on March 3, 2016, seven years behind schedule, at a cost of $4 billion, twice the original budget. More than $1 billion of those costs went to administrative costs and the decision to build around the 1 line of the New York City Subway.

Calatrava has defined his style as bridging the division between structural engineering and architecture. In his projects, he claims to continue a tradition of Spanish modernist engineering that included Félix Candela, Antonio Gaudí, and Rafael Guastavino, with a very personal style that derives from numerous studies of the human body and the natural world. Architecture critics, however, see his work as a continuation of the neofuturistic expressionism of Eero Saarinen.

Recent projects

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Puente del Alamillo at night, made for the Expo 92, Seville, (1992)
Auditorio de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Bahnhof Stadelhofen in Zürich

St. Nicholas Church

Calatrava's St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in Liberty Park, is a redesign for the church destroyed by the collapse of Two World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks.

Calatrava was awarded the contract to rebuild the St. Nicholas Church in downtown New York City, which had been destroyed on 9/11. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and it is hoped that the St. Nicholas congregation will be able to celebrate Easter in the church in 2017.

The church will be created from steel and concrete but the exterior will be clad in stone. In designing the church, Calatrava was said to be inspired by Byzantine churches of the past, including the Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. The interior design of the church is still being determined.

Sharq Crossing

In December 2013, the city of Doha awarded Calatrava the Sharq Crossing in Doha, Qatar - his biggest project to date. This project was put on hold in January 2015. If pursued, the project will see three interconnecting bridges - spanning almost ten kilometers – connect the city’s cultural district in the north of the city to Hamad International Airport and the central business district in West Bay. The bridges will be able to carry 2,000 vehicles per lane per hour and are connected by a series of undersea tunnels to keep the traffic flow moving. The three bridges would be between 600 and 1,310m in length and the undersea tunnels would be between 8 and 9 km long.

The crossing is partly designed to ease traffic in this fast-growing city, but the West Bay Bridge – a double-decked bridge – also incorporates a recreational part that can be accessed by an elevated walkway. This will offer views of the city and will offer hospitality facilities that connect to the central business district.

The project has been described by authorities in Qatar as being one of the most ambitious engineering projects undertaken in the Middle East, creating up to 15,000 jobs. Work is scheduled to start in 2015 to open in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Trinity River Bridges

Calatrava's work includes three bridges that will eventually span the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas, United States.

The first bridge, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, named after donor Margaret Hunt Hill, was open for traffic in March 2012. The bridge closely resembles one of three bridges constructed in 2005-2005 on the Autostrada A1 in Reggio Emilia, Italy, that Calatrava also designed.

The second, Margaret McDermott Bridge, named for the donor, started construction fall 2013 and is expected to open for traffic early 2017. If the remaining bridge is completed, Dallas will join the Dutch county of Haarlemmermeer in having three Calatrava bridges.

Work on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was started in 2007 and completed in 2012. The bridge has a 40-story center arch, which is a feature of the Dallas skyline.

Peace Bridge

Calatrava's design for the Peace Bridge, a 130 metres (430 ft) pedestrian bridge to span the Bow River in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was estimated to cost approximately $24.5 million. The project was approved by city council in early January 2009 and was scheduled for completion in fall 2010. Public disclosure of Peace Bridge plans was made on 28 July 2009, and it was described as a sleek, elegant contribution to downtown Calgary.

The bridge was received with mixed feelings amongst Calgarians. The design model showed a sleek, tubular, single-span red-and-white trestle, offering separate pathways for cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge was expected to serve up to 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists daily. After considerable delays due to construction quality problems, the bridge opened in March 2012.

Florida Polytechnic University

On 16 June 2009, it was announced that Calatrava would be designing the first building of the new University of South Florida Polytechnic campus in Lakeland, Florida. This will be his first work in the southeastern United States. The university is now Florida Polytechnic University, and has been open since August 2014.

Calatrava has been responsible for the masterplan of the campus as well as the main building. The campus sits on 170 acres (69 ha) of land which once contained phosphorus mines, many of which have been filled with water creating small lakes. Some of these are being enlarged to create a major lake at the center of the campus.

The main building – the Innovation, Science and Technology building – will be arranged over two floors of an area of 200,000 square feet. It will house classrooms, labs, faculty offices and meeting spaces and will be provide the Polytechnic’s primary needs until additional buildings are added.

The project was completed for a fixed-price of $60m and is projected to come in under budget. The backdrop of the polytechnic building was recently used in a commercial for Chrysler Ram trucks.

This building was selected as Global Project of the Year by the Engineering News-Record magazine.

Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro

The Museum of Tomorrow opened in December 2015. With Rio due to host a series of major events in the next few years, a number of high-profile construction projects were commissioned. Calatrava was responsible for the design of the Museum of Tomorrow, part of a major development on the waterfront. The museum – set on the Pier Maua, and over 130,000 square feet in size – focuses on the issues of science and sustainability, and look at possibilities for the future. The building has a number of 'green' features, including pools to capture rainwater for use in the plumbing system, and also pools that naturally filter water from the bay.

Calatrava as sculptor

Calatrava is also a sculptor and painter, claiming that the practice of architecture combines all the arts into one. In 2003, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City held an exhibition of his artistic and architectural work, entitled Santiago Calatrava: Sculpture Into Architecture. In 2012, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg held an exhibition of his work and this was followed up by an exhibition at the Vatican Museum in Rome. The Marlborough Gallery in New York is set to exhibit Calatrava’s work in May 2014. Eight of his sculptures will also be displayed along Park Avenue in New York City in the spring of 2015, between 52nd and 55th Streets. Exhibitions of his work have also taken place in Germany, England, Spain, Italy and elsewhere.

Notable works

Atrium of Brookfield Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1992)
Gare do Oriente, Lisbon, Portugal (1998)
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Valencia, Spain (1998)
L'Umbracle at the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencia, Spain (2001)
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencia, Spain (1998-2002)
Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US (2001)
Calatrava bridge in Petah Tikva, Israel (2005)
Turning Torso in Malmö, Sweden (2005)
Chords Bridge for pedestrians and train in Jerusalem (2008)
Technion Obelisk in Haifa, Israel (2009)
Peace Bridge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2012)
Autostrada A1 bridges in Reggio Emilia, Italy (2012)
Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, Texas, USA (2012)


  • 1983–84, Jakem Steel Warehouse, Munchwilen, Switzerland
  • 1983–85, Ernsting Warehouse, Coesfeld, Germany
  • 1983–88, Wohlen High School, Wohlen, Switzerland
  • 1983–90, Stadelhofen Railway Station, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 1983–89, Hall of Lucerne railway station, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • 1984–87, Bac de Roda Bridge, Barcelona, Spain
  • 1984–88, Barenmatte Community Center, Suhr, Switzerland,
  • 1986–87, Tabourettli Theater, Basel, Switzerland,
  • 1987–92, Allen Lambert Galleria (in Brookfield Place), Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
  • 1989–94, TGV Station, Lyon, France
  • 1991–95, Alameda Bridge and Metro Station, Valencia, Spain
  • 1992, Puente del Alamillo, Seville, Spain
  • 1992, Puente de Lusitania, Mérida, Spain
  • 1992, Montjuic Communications Tower at the Olympic Ring, Barcelona, Spain
  • 1992, World's Fair, Kuwaiti Pavilion, Seville, Spain
  • 1994, Mimico Creek Bridge, Humber Bay Parks, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1994, Kronprinzenbrücke, Berlin, Germany
  • 1994–1997, Campo Volantin Footbridge, Bilbao, Spain
  • 1995, Trinity Bridge, footbridge over River Irwell in Manchester and Salford, Greater Manchester, England
  • 1996–2009, Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Valencia, Spain
  • 1996, Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary island, Spain
  • 1998, Gare do Oriente, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1999, Puente del Hospital, Murcia, Spain
  • 2000, New terminal at Bilbao Airport, Bilbao, Spain
  • 2001, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
  • 2001, Puente de la Mujer, in the Puerto Madero barrio of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2001, Bodegas Ysios, Laguardia, Spain
  • 2002, Wave, in Dallas, Texas at the Southern Methodist University Meadows Museum
  • 2003, James Joyce Bridge, bridge over River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2003, Auditorio de Tenerife, the architect's first performing arts facility, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
  • 2004, redesign of Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece
  • 2004, Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California, US
  • 2004, Three bridges (called Harp, Cittern and Lute) spanning the main canal of the Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
  • 2004, University of Zurich, "Bibliothekseinbau" library remodelling, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2005, The bridge connecting the Avnat shopping mall and the Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson) in Petah Tikva, Israel
  • 2005, Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden
  • 2007, Three bridges on the A1 Motorway and Milan–Bologna high-speed railway, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • 2008, Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem, a light rail bridge
  • 2008, Ponte della Costituzione footbridge from Piazzale Roma over the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
  • 2008–2009, Technion Obelisk, monument on the Technion campus in Haifa, Israel
  • 2009, Liège-Guillemins railway station in Liège, Belgium
  • 2009, Samuel Beckett Bridge, bridge over River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2009, Caja Madrid Obelisk, Madrid, Spain
  • 2011, Palacio de Congresos de Oviedo, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, [Spanish wiki: es:Palacio de Congresos de Oviedo
  • 2011, Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos, Oviedo, Spain
  • 2012, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, Texas,, US
  • 2012, Peace Bridge, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2013, Medio Padana Station on the Milan–Bologna high-speed railway, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • 2014, Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland, Florida, US
  • 2015, Museu do Amanhã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2016, World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York City, US

Under construction/proposed

In Asia
  • Yuan Ze University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Huashan Canal Bridges, Wuhan, China
In Europe
  • City of Sport, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
  • Crati River Bridge, Cosenza, Italy
  • The Marina Arechis Port Village, Salerno, Italy
  • New railway station in Mons, Belgium
  • Office Building in Zurich, Switzerland
In the Middle East
  • Sharq Crossing, Doha, Qatar
  • The Tower DCH, Dubai, UAE
  • UAE Pavilion at EXPO 2020, Dubai, UAE
In North America
  • Margaret McDermott Bridge, Dallas, Texas, US
  • St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, New York City, US

Calatrava has also submitted designs for a number of notable projects that were eventually awarded to other designers, including the Reichstag in Berlin and the East London River Crossing.

Unbuilt projects

  • 80 South Street was a residential skyscraper, located at that address in New York City's financial district facing the East River. It was composed of ten townhouses in the shape of cubes stacked on top of one another. The townhouses move up a main beam and follow a staggered ladder-like pattern, providing each townhouse with its own roof. The "townhouse in the sky" design was supposed to attract a high-profile clientele willing to pay a hefty US$30 million for each cube. As of 2008, this project had been canceled; the Manhattan real estate market had gone soft, and none of the ten multimillion-dollar townhouses had been sold.
  • Chicago Spire was a now-canceled skyscraper in Chicago. Originally commissioned by Chicagoan Christopher Carley, the building site for the project was purchased by Irish developer Garrett Kelleher in July 2006 when Carley's financing plans fell through. Construction of the building was to begin in August 2007, for intended completion in 2011. The Chicago Spire would have been the tallest building in North America. The project was canceled in early 2010.
  • Collserola communications tower in Barcelona (1991). A tower shaped like a big white spaceship was proposed, but Norman Foster ultimately designed the tower.
  • A bridge in Toronto to the Toronto Island Airport. Locals did not support the airport.
  • A campus building for Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His design was dropped for a less expensive design.
  • New cathedral for the Diocese of Oakland, California, US. Preliminary design dropped in favor of that by local architect Craig Hartman (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, San Francisco).
  • New bridge across Cávado River, Barcelos, Portugal. It was dropped due to lack of funds.
  • Substitute bridge (Wettstein Bridge) across Rhine River, Basel, Switzerland. It did not pass the cantonal referendum. A less expensive bridge was built instead.
  • Maastricht University Campus, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Palma de Mallorca's Opera, Spain
  • Atlanta Symphony Center, Atlanta, Georgia, US


Calatrava has received numerous recognitions for his design and engineering work, for example for his use of steel and concrete. In 1988, he was awarded with the Fazlur Khan International Fellowship by the SOM Foundation. In 1990, he received the "Médaille d'Argent de la Recherche et de la Technique", in Paris. In 1992 he received the prestigious Gold Medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers. In 1993, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a major exhibition of his work called "Structure and Expression". In 1998 he was elected to become a member of "Les Arts et Lettres", in Paris. In 2005 he received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

In 2005, Calatrava was awarded the Eugene McDermott Award by the Council for the Arts of MIT. The award is among the most esteemed arts awards in the US.

He is also a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.

Calatrava has received a total of twenty-one honorary degrees in recognition of his work. In 2013, Calatrava was awarded an honorary doctorate from Georgia Institute of Technology, an award that has only been given to a small number of people.

The Nova Corps world Xandar in the science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy is largely based on his designs.

Disney's movie Tomorrowland use Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences as a key location. Actor George Clooney described the complex saying "I've never seen anything like it. It's very much a dreamer who built that". The movie's director Brad Bird described the complex as "beautiful, very unconventional, based on natural forms but at the same time abstract".


  • 1979 Auguste Perret Award
  • 1987 Union Internationale d’Architectes (UIA) Auguste Perret Prize, Paris
  • 1988 City of Barcelona Art Prize for the Bach de Roda – Felipe II Bridge
  • 1988 Premio de la Asociación de la Prensa (Press Association Award), Valencia
  • 1988 Fritz Schumacher Prize for Urbanism, Architecture and Engineering, Hamburg
  • 1988 FAD Prize, Fomento de las Artes y del Diseño, Madrid
  • 1988 IABSE Prize, International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE), Zurich
  • 1990 Médaille d’Argent de la Recherche et de la Technique, Fondation Académie d’Architecture, Paris
  • 1991 City of Zurich Award for Good Building for the Zurich-Stadelhofen Railway Station
  • 1991 European Glulam Award, Glued Laminated Timber Construction, Munich
  • 1992 Brunel Award for the Zurich-Stadelhofen Railway Station, Madrid
  • 1992 CEOE Foundation “VI Dragados y Construcciones Prize” for the Alamillo Bridge, Madrid
  • 1992 London Institution of Structural Engineers Gold Medal
  • 1993 City of Toronto Urban Design Award for the BCE Place Galleria
  • 1993 City of Pedreguer Honor Prize for Urban Arquitectonic Merit
  • 1993 Fundación Garcia Cabrerizo Medalla de Honor al Fomento de la Invención, Madrid
  • 1993 Global Leader for Tomorrow, World Economic Forum, Davos
  • 1994 Creu de Sant Jordi, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona
  • 1995 Canton of Lucerne Award for Good Building 1983–1993 for the Lucerne Railway Station and Square
  • 1996 Gold Medal for Excellence in the Fine Arts from the Granada Ministry of Culture
  • 1997 ECCS European Steel Design Award for the reconstruction of the Berlin’s Kronprinzenbrücke
  • 1997 Louis Vuitton – Moet Hennessy Art Prize
  • 1997 Master de Oro, Forum de Alta Dirección, Madrid
  • 1998 Brunel Award for the Oriente Station in Lisbon
  • 1998 Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, Paris
  • 1999 Prince of Asturias Award in Arts
  • 1999 Canadian Consulting Engineering Award for the Mimico Creek Bridge, Toronto, Ottawa
  • 1999 Concrete Society Gold Medal, London
  • 1999 Grau Grande Oficial da Ordem do Mérito, Chancelaria das Ordens Honorificas Portuguesas, Libson
  • 2000 “Das Goldene Dach 2000” for the structural completion of the St. Gallen Pfalzkeller, PRORENOVA – Schweizerische Vereinigung für bauliche Erneuerung
  • 2000 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University
  • 2000 Medalla de Oro, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Valencia
  • 2000 Honorary Academician, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid
  • 2001 ECCS European Steel Design Award 2001 for the Pont de l’Europe in Orléans
  • 2001 American Museum of Natural History “Award for Excellence in Design” for the Times Capsule, New York
  • 2002 SEAOI “Excellence in Design Award for Best Large Structure” for the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • 2002 Il Principe e L’Architetto for the Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande, Venice, Architettura e Design per la Cittá, Bologna
  • 2002 Time Magazine "Best of 2001" for the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • 2002 Sir Misha Black Medal, Royal College of Art, London; added to the College of Medallists.
  • 2002 SEFI Leonardo da Vinci Medal for Outstanding Construction to International Engineering Education, Brussels
  • 2003 The Silver Beam Award for the Turning Torso Tower, Malmö
  • 2003 Medalla al Mérito a las Bellas Artes, Real Academia de San Carlos de Valencia, Valencia
  • 2003 Grande Médaille d’Or d’Architecture, Académie d’Architecture, Paris
  • 2003 The Illuminating Design Award of Merit, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, New York
  • 2003 ECCS European Steel Design Award for the University of Zurich, Law Library roof construction
  • 2004 James Parks Morton Interfaith Award from the Interfaith Center of New York
  • 2004 National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Outstanding Project Award for the Milwaukee Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2004 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award for the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • 2004 Academy of Achievement “Golden Plate Award”, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2004 Gold Medal, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, New York
  • 2005 ECCS European Steel Design Award for the Olympic Stadium, Athens
  • 2005 ECCS European Steel Design Award for the Three Bridges over the Hoofdvart, Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands
  • 2005 MIPIM Award for the Turning Torso Tower, Malmö
  • 2005 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Council for the Arts at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • 2005 Time Magazine “Time 100 - The lives and ideas of the world's most influential people”, New York
  • 2005 Permanent Honorary Guest (Ständiger Ehrengast), University of Zurich
  • 2005 Alta Distinción de la Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia
  • 2005 Premio Nacional a las Artes y las Ciencias aplicadas al Deporte 2004, Consejo Superior de Deportes, Madrid
  • 2005 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, Washington DC
  • 2006 Designation as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos
  • 2006 ESCN European Award for Excellence in Concrete for the Turning Torso in Malmö
  • 2006 ESCN European Award for Excellence in Concrete 2006 for the Liège-Guillemins High-Speed Railway Station in Belgium
  • 2006 Premio Nacional de Arcquitectura
  • 2006 fib Award for Outstanding Concrete Structures for the Turning Torso Tower, Malmö
  • 2006 Sidney L. Strauss Award New York Society of Architects, New York
  • 2006 Leadership Award, New York Building Congress
  • 2006 Premio Nacional de Ingenieria Civil 2005, Ministerio de Fomento, Madridy
  • 2007 Awarded with the Spanish National Architecture Award
  • Design Futures Council Senior Fellow
  • 2007 “Hijo Predilecto”, Municipality of Valencia
  • 2007 Urban Visionaries Award
  • 2007 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art “Urban Visionaries Award”, New York
  • 2007 Premio Nacional de Arcquitectura 2005, Ministerio de Fomento in Madrid
  • 2008 Gran Cruz de la Orden de Jaume I, Generalitat Valenciana
  • 2009 Gresol Foundation Award, Madrid
  • 2009 ECCS European Steel Design Award 2009 for the Three Bridges in Reggio Emilia
  • 2009 50th Anniversary Batibouw, ‘Golden Belgian Building Award’
  • 2010 Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, Washington D.C.
  • 2010 Honorary Citizen of the City of Liège
  • 2010 Business Journal ‘2010 Project of the Decade Real Estate Award’ for the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • 2010 Travel + Leisure Design Award 2010 for Liège Guillemins High Speed Railway Station, New York
  • 2010 Engineering Project of the Year in the 2010 Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards for the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin
  • 2010 National Steel Prize 2010 of the Netherlands, winner category ‘Infrastructure’ for the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin
  • 2010 Project of the Decade Real Estate Award, The Business Journal
  • 2011 Certificate of Brevet Wallonie, Government of the Wallon Region, Belgium
  • 2011 British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards 2011, for the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin,‘Highly Commended' in the International Project category
  • 2012 AIA National Medal – Honor of Architects involved Post-9/11 Design and Rebuilding Efforts, AIA National Convention & Design Expo in Washington D.C.
  • 2012 ECCS European Award for Steel Bridges for the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas.
  • 2013 CISC-ICCA Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, Alberta, 2013 Steel Design Award of Excellence, category ‘Steel Edge’ and category ‘Engineering’ for the Peace Bridge in Calgary
  • 2014 CISC-ICCA Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, 2014 National Steel Design Award of Excellence, category ‘Bridges’ for the Peace Bridge in Calgary
  • 2014 ENR (Engineering News Record) Award for the United States National ‘Best of the Best’ Higher Education award for the Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland
  • 2014 ENR (Engineering News Record) Award for the United States National ‘Best of the Best’ Specialty Contracting award
  • 2014 ENR Southeast winner of ‘Best Project’ in the category ‘Higher Education/Research’ for the Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland
  • 2014 ENR Southeast 2014 winner 'Best Building Project of the Year' for the Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland
  • 2014 ‘Award of Merit’ from the Concrete Industry Board’s Roger H. Corbetta Awards for Quality Concrete for the Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland
  • 2015 10 Year Award for the “Turning Torso”in Malmö, Sweden from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
  • 2015 ACEC New York – American Council of Engineering Companies of New York ‘Diamond Award’ in the category of Structural Systems for the Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland
  • 2015 American Institute of Steel Construction IDEAS Award for the Florida Polytechnic University’s Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 The International Architecture Award for the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 SARA (Society of American Registered Architects) Special Award for Excellence in Urban Infrastructure) for PATH Station Transit Hub, New York
  • 2015 SARA Design Award of Excellence for Polytechnic University, Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies
  • 2015 ENR Global Best Project in Higher Education/Research and Specialty Contracting for the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 ENR National Best Project in Higher Education/Research and Specialty Contracting for the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 ENR Southeast Regional Building Project of the Year for the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 ENR Project of the Year 2015 (its highest honor) for the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building in Lakeland, Florida
  • 2015 European Prize of Architecture, The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies
  • 2016 Life Achievement Award 2016, LEAF (Leading European Architecture Forum)

Honorary degrees

  • 1993 Honorary Degree from Universidad Politecnica de Valencia
  • 1994 Honorary Degree from Heriot-Watt University
  • 1994 Honorary Degree from University of Seville
  • 1995 Honorary Degree from University of Salford
  • 1996 Honorary Degree from University of Strathclyde
  • 1997 Honorary Degree from Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • 1997 Honoris Causa degree awarded by Delft University of Technology
  • 1999 Honoris Causa degree from University of Cassino
  • 1999 Honorary Degree from Lund University
  • 1999 Honorary Degree from Universita degli Studi di Ferrara
  • 2004 Honorary Degree from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • 2005 Honorary Degree from Southern Methodist University
  • 2006 Honorary Engineering Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2005 Honorary Degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • 2007 Honorary Engineering Degree from Columbia University
  • 2008 Honorary Degree from Tel Aviv University
  • 2009 Honorary Degree from Oxford University
  • 2009 Honorary Degree from University Camilo Jose Cela
  • 2010 Honorary Degree from Universite de Liege
  • 2012 Honorary Degree from Pratt Institute
  • 2013 Honorary Doctoral degree from Georgia institute of technology
  • 2016 Honorary Doctoral degree from Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) in México

Other honours

  • 2011 On 10 December, Calatrava was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture for a five-year renewable term by Pope Benedict XVI.


Overpriced and delayed

Calatrava's projects have often been completed late and well over budget, resulting several times in real or threatened litigation against him.


For the Constitution Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, see below.

New York

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York was completed in 2016, seven years behind schedule, for a cost of $4 billion, twice what was expected. Calatrava's office was paid US$80 million.


The City of Arts and Sciences complex in his native Valencia ultimately cost around €900 million, almost triple what was originally budgeted, over a 20-year period. Ignacio Blanco, an opposition member of the Valencian provincial parliament for United Left, estimates that the city, financially strapped as a result of country's ongoing economic crisis and unwise spending, still owes €700 million. Blanco started a website, calatravatelaclava.com (a rhyme that means "Calatrava nails you (with it)", also very loosely translated from Spanish as "Calatrava bleeds you dry"), highlighting the architect's propensity for these cost and schedule overruns. According to that website Calatrava has charged the Valencia government some €100m (£81m). The party says it has managed to see copies of bills paid by the People's Party regional government to the architect, who has been living in Zurich since 1973. Calatrava sued them for damages to his honour. Around May 2014, Calatrava won a court ruling in which Esquerra Unida was condemned for defaming Calatrava and it was ordered to pay him €30,000 on repairs. Calatrava announced he would donate the full amount. Esquerra Unida i Alternativa, the political party behind the website, launched another one called www.calatravanonoscalla.com, loosely translated as "Caltrava will not silence us".


Some of Calatrava's work has additionally been criticized for impracticality. The metal arches he puts over landscaped gardens, critics say, are beautiful but became too hot in the sunlight for vines to grow around them. "[R]ather than searching for functionality or customer satisfaction, he aims for singularity," complains the head of Bilbao's architectural association. "[He] is above and beyond the client." Blanco points to the minimal design notes the architect provides in comparison to his peers.


For the Constitution Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, see below.


In Bilbao, the bridge's glass tiles are prone to break and to become slippery in the local weather, leading The New York Times to dub it "The Bridge of Broken Legs", due to the many accidents that occurred. The compensation payments which followed finally compelled the local administration to add anti-slip treads to its decking, covering the lighting from underneath that was the bridge's selling point.


In the City of Arts and Sciences' opera house, 150 seats have partially obstructed views.

Lack of essential features

Other buildings have been built without essential features.


For the Constitution Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, see below.

Bilbao Airport

Bilbao Airport lacks an arrivals hall, so a glass wall had to be built to shelter passengers waiting on the street after clearing customs and picking up their bags.

Valencia's science museum

Valencia's science museum was originally missing fire escapes or elevators to provide accessibility; they were later added by Calatrava at further public expense. "He was paid even when repairing his own mistakes," Blanco complains.

Engineering issues

Some Calatrava projects have shown visible problems within a few years of completion.

Constitution Bridge in Venice

The Constitution Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice has many problems highlighted by his critics. Begun in 1996, it took 12 years to build and went through numerous structural changes because of the mechanical instability of the structure and the excessive weight of the bridge, which would cause the banks of the canal to fail. In 10 years the project was inspected by more than eight consultants and the cost had risen to three times the original expectations. The finished bridge has been criticized for its impractical design; it has many steps embedded in its relatively steep pavement, which makes it uncomfortable to walk on, especially for the elderly. Moreover, it does not have a ramp, so that it cannot be used by wheelchair users. The city has sued Calatrava over both the cost overruns on the original construction and the excessive maintenance costs since then. The Court finally absolved Calatrava of all charges and compensated him for legal cost incurred. In March 2013, an Italian supreme court started a procedure for a hearing against Calatrava and three engineers for overpricing the bridge. The court absolved Calatrava of all charges and compensated him for incurred legal costs.


It was inevitable, another Valencia architect wrote, that the mosaic Calatrava put on the wall of the City of Arts and Sciences' opera house as a tribute to Antonio Gaudi would buckle as the steel it was affixed to heated up. The city was contemplating a lawsuit against Calatrava and the builders over the wrinkles that have appeared. Tiles on the facade were ripped away by high winds in the winter of 2013-2014. Eventually, the blame was assigned to the contractor responsible for poor execution work. Repair works where completed in 2015 following Calatrava's original design and using the same materials as in the first application


A councilor in the Dutch municipality Haarlemmermeer called for the city to sue Calatrava over the three bridges he designed over its main canal, which not only cost double their budget but have required far more maintenance than originally anticipated.

Ysios winery

The Domecq Group has sued Calatrava and the building company Ferrovial to pay for the repairs in the cover of the 2001 Ysios winery in Alavan Rioja, Spain. The aluminium and cedar cover leaks water, causing humidity inside that is detrimental to wine production.


Elsewhere in Spain, in 2013 Calatrava and his associates were ordered to pay the city of Oviedo €3.3 million for damages incurred when a convention center collapsed while under construction. The judgment has since been confirmed on appeal, though slightly reduced to just under €3 million.

Calatrava's reply

"My goal is always to create something exceptional that enhances cities and enriches the lives of the people who live and work in them," Calatrava told the New York Times in response to its article about his projects' many difficulties. He has claimed that his fees for his Valencia work were justified since they included his work as a project manager over 20 years' time, but did not address specific criticisms of its many defects. In an interview with Architectural Record he dismissed criticism there by Blanco and others as politically motivated. He noted that other cities, like Dublin and Dallas, had been satisfied with his work and commissioned projects from him repeatedly. His supporters pointed out that Valencia's government has spent foolishly and extravagantly on other architects' work as well, such as its new airport which remains underused.


A special one-man exhibition of Calatrava's drawings, sculpture, and architectural models was presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 2006.

Personal life

Calatrava resides in Zurich and New York City. Two of Calatrava's sons have completed advanced degrees in Engineering from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University in New York City. His other son obtained a law degree from Columbia University.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
comments so far.
From our partners
arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes