Santiago Calatrava Commissioned to Design His First Bridge in China

Rendering of . Image © AECOM

The Hubei United Investment Group (HUIG) has commissioned Santiago Calatrava to design three major highway and pedestrian bridges in the AECOM-masterplanned city of Huashan, 12 miles east of downtown Wuhan. The bridges will be Calatrava’s first project in China. They will span a new man-made canal that bisects Huashan’s urban center and connects two lakes that feed the Yangtze River.

“It gives me great personal satisfaction and represents a grand challenge that I face with great enthusiasm to help develop this ambitious project that enables me to design my first bridges in the Far East,” says Calatrava.

Santiago Calatrava’s Florida Polytechnic Building Awarded “Best in Steel Construction” by AISC

Last week, the American Institute of Construction (AISC) presented its Innovation Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Awards program. Recognizing exemplary work in steel for both its architectural and structural merits, the AISC awarded Santiago Calatrava‘s Innovation, Science, and Technology (IST) building at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida with the national award in the $15 million to $75 million category.

6 Takeaways From NYMag’s Article On Calatrava’s $4 Billion WTC Station

© Bedel Saget/The New York Times

Ask any person involved in the construction of Santiago Calatrava‘s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and they will probably admit that the world’s most expensive train station has not been a PR success. In fact things have gotten so bad that a recent article by Andrew Rice for New York Magazine describes the gradual opening of the building later this year as coming “at long last and great cost, to both the government and his reputation,” adding that “a decade ago, Calatrava would have made any short list of the world’s most esteemed architects. Today, many within the profession are aghast at what they see as his irresponsibility.”

But, unlike much of the press coverage that has greeted Calatrava in recent years, the New York Magazine article is much more forgiving, taking the time to investigate the twists and turns of the project’s controversial 12-year history and offering the architect the opportunity to give his side of the story. Read on after the break for a breakdown of six takeaways from the article.

Defining a More Purposeful Architecture: A Guide to Current Architectural Trends

The current state of architectural design incorporates many contemporary ideas of what defines unique geometry. With the advent of strong computer software at the early 21st century, an expected level of experimentation has overtaken our profession and our academic realms to explore purposeful architecture through various techniques, delivering meaningful buildings that each exhibit a message of cultural relevancy.

These new movements are not distinct stylistic trends, but modes of approaching concept design. They often combine with each other, or with stylistic movements, to create complete designs. Outlined within this essay are five movements, each with varying degrees of success creating purposeful buildings: Diagramism, Neo-, Revitism, Scriptism, and Subdivisionism.

Video: Santiago Calatrava On His Design For Ground Zero’s Only Non-Secular Building

In a for the BBC Magazine, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava talks through his designs for the new St. Nicholas Church – the only non-secular building on the 9/11 Memorial site. The building, which broke ground last year, has been described by Calatrava as a ”tiny jewel” for lower Manhattan, comprising of a white Vermont marble shrine sat beneath a translucent central cupola that is illuminated from within. The new church, of Greek Orthodox denomination, replaces a church of the same name which was destroyed during the attacks of . It is sited close to its original location on 130 Liberty Street, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial park and museum. With the building set to open in early 2016, Calatrava discusses the key conceptual ideas and references behind its unique, controversial design.

In Defense of Santiago Calatrava

Polytechnic Sciencie, Innovation and Technology Campus. Image © Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava

In recent years, few architects have had a tougher time in the media than Santiago Calatrava. Whether it’s his repeated legal battles over leaking roofs and peeling facades, the unceremonious death of his Chicago Spire project, or the media firestorm over his New York Transportation Hub that is $2 billion over budget, Calatrava has become a poster boy for those who criticize the supposed arrogance of today’s architects. However, in an engaging article for FastCo Design, Karrie Jacobs responds to what seems to be “a concerted effort to shore up his reputation,” coming to the defense of this “unreconstructed aesthete.” Read the article in full here.

New York’s $4 Billion Train Station Takes Shape

Screenshot. Image © Bedel Saget/The Times

Santiago Calatrava’s head-turning World Trade Center Transportation Hub has assumed its full form, nearly a decade after its design was revealed. In light of this, the New York Times has taken a critical look at just how the winged station’s budget soared. “Its colossal avian presence may yet guarantee the hub a place in the pantheon of civic design in New York. But it cannot escape another, more ignominious distinction as one of the most expensive and most delayed train stations ever built.” The complete report, here.

Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire Finally Axed

© Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava‘s much maligned design for the Chicago Spire has finally met its end, thanks to a lapsed payment deadline from the site’s developer, Grant Kelleher. The project, which would have been the tallest building in the USA, began construction in 2007 but was halted at the onset of the global financial crisis, leaving nothing more than a large hole in the ground for over six years.

Despite numerous attempts to revive the Spire, Grant Kelleher’s Shelbourne Development Group never overcame its financial troubles. Shelbourne Development Group and its partner Atlas Apartment Holdings received a court order to pay $22 million to one of their creditors, Related Midwest, who had bought $93 million worth of debt from the project. However, the Chicago Tribune reports that within minutes of the October 31st deadline lapsing with no sign of payment, Related Midwest filed papers in a Chicago court requiring that the deeds for the property be passed to them.

Santiago Calatrava Breaks Ground on Church at 9/11 Memorial Site

© Santiago Calatrava

Construction has begun on Santiago Calatrava’s Saint Nicholas National Shrine on the World Trade Center site in New York. A “tiny jewel” for lower , as referred by Calatrava, the white Vermont marble shrine will be based around a translucent central Cupola that illuminates from within. 

More images and an updated construction image of Calatrava’s neighboring transportation hub, after the break.

NBBJ Creates High Tech Shading System for Buildings

Courtesy of

International architecture firm NBBJ has created Sunbreak, a new prototype for user-controlled sunshades that will not only lower energy costs, but also give buildings a dynamic appearance throughout the day.

Technology currently exists for automatically regulating solar gains in buildings, but the downside to these systems is that they often lack manual controls, and one of the most common complaints heard from workers in modern office buildings is that they do not have enough control over their environment. Automatic sunshades go up or down based on the time of day but if it happens to be cloudy outside or if users want natural light in a room when the shades are down there may be nothing they can do.

Florida Polytechnic Sciencie, Innovation and Technology Campus / Santiago Calatrava

© Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava

Architects: Santiago Calatrava
Location: Lakeland, FL,
Architect Of Record: Alfonso Architects
Year: 2014
Photographs: Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava

Spotlight: Santiago Calatrava

. Image Courtesy of http://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

Today is the 63rd birthday of world renowned architect, engineer, and artist Santiago Calatrava Valls. Calatrava is well known for his neofuturist style and his wild feats of engineering. The Milwaukee Art Museum, his first building in the United States, is famous for its shading “wings” that open and close in response to the position of the sun. His complex of buildings in his native Valencia is also a frequent pilgrimage site for architecture enthusiasts. 

Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub Fails to Impress

© , LLC

“How can a $3.94 billion building be made to look cheap?” A small part of Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub has been opened to the public, and the critics aren’t impressed. According to the  Times’ article by David Dunlap, the buildings “chunky fixtures” and “rough workmanship” “detract from what is meant to be breathtaking grandeur.” Read more, here.

Could a Lick of Super Strong Carbon Paint Fix Caltrava’s Palau de les Arts?

El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia

Will the peeling shell of Santiago Calatrava’s Palau de les Arts in  be saved by an innovative, new paint? Calatrava’s $455.6 million project, which surpassed its budget four times over, has sprouted many defects over the years, but none more damning than its peeling facade – a defect that spurred the city of to sue Calatrava’s office. However, Spanish paint manufacturer Graphenano has proposed an innovative solution: Graphenstone, a mixture of limestone powder and the allotrope graphene, which should just prevent further deterioration. Whether the solution could also relieve some courtroom tension, remains to be seen. Read more on Inhabitat and The Architect’s Newspaper.

VIDEO: Elegance in Motion at Calatrava’s Liège-Guillemins Railway Station in Belgium

We present you with a compelling video depicting the sublime interaction of light and space at Santiago Calatrava’s Liège-Guillemins railway station in Belgium. Inspired by Eadwards Muybridge’s 1886 short- “Horse in Motion,” architectural photographer Yannick Wegner uses time lapse photography to uniquely portray the experience within and around this bustling building.

“Time lapse as a stylistic device offers new opportunities in acknowledging remarkable architecture,” describes Wegner. “The appearance of time through motion gives the impression of vitality and emphasizes the architecture.”

Developer Seeks to Revive Calatrava’s “Chicago Spire”

Spire. Image © Santiago Calatrava

Cloaked in financial woes, what was intended to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere has remained a stagnate hole in the Chicago cityscape since the height of the crisis. However, the fate of the Santiago Calatrava-designed luxury condominium may be about to change, as developer Garrett Kelleher is actively seeking court approval to reinstate the project with a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC. More on Chicago’s 2,000-foot “twisting” spire latest update here on the Chicago Tribune.   

40 Architecture Docs to Watch In 2014

Gehry’s Vertigo. Image Courtesy of Living Architectures

This time last year we published our 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013 featuring a fantastic range of films telling the tales of some of the world’s greatest unsung architectural heroes. We now bring you eleven more for 2014, looking past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

World Trade Center Progress Report: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Cranes over the Transport Hub in July of 2012. Image © Mark Lennihan, AP

Slowly, and surely not lacking critique, ’s transport hub rises $2 billion over budget, ’s Freedom Tower — now, more mundanely referred to as 1WTC — is recognized as the tallest building in the western hemisphere and there is still a considerable amount of development yet to be done on the World Trade Center. Read Edwin Heathcote’s article on the Financial Times regarding the good, the bad and the ugly: ”Rebuilding the World Trade Center: A Progress Report.”