Architect, Artist and Engineer Santiago Calatrava was born in 1951 in Valencia, Spain. He attended primary and secondary school in Valencia and, from the age of eight, he also attended the Arts and Crafts School, where he began his formal instruction in drawing and painting. Upon completing high school in Valencia and following a period spent in Paris, he enrolled in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in Valencia where he received a degree in Architecture and took a post-graduate course in Urbanism.
Attracted by the mathematical rigor of certain great works of historic architecture Calatrava decided to pursue post-graduate studies in Civil Engineering and enrolled in 1975 at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich. He received his Ph.D. in 1981 presenting a thesis: Concerning the Foldability of Space Frames.
After completing his studies, he opened his first office in Zurich in 1981 and took on small engineering commissions. He also began to enter competitions with his first winning proposal in 1983 for the design and construction of Stadelhofen Railway Station in Zurich. In 1984, Calatrava designed the Bach de Roda Bridge in Barcelona. This was the first of the bridge projects that established his international reputation. Among other notable bridges that followed were the Alamillo Bridge and Cartuja Viaduct, commissioned for the World’s Fair in Seville (1987–1992); the Campo Volantín Footbridge in Bilbao (1990–1997); and the Alameda Bridge and Metro Station in Valencia (1991–1995). Other large-scale public projects from the late 1980s and 1990s include the BCE Place Galleria in Toronto (1987–1992) and the Oriente Railway Station in Lisbon (1993-1998), commissioned for Expo ’98.
Calatrava established his firm’s second office in Paris in 1989 when he was working on the Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport Station (1989–1994). In 1991, he won a competition in Valencia for a large cultural complex and urban intervention – the City of Arts and Sciences, an 86-acre complex of arts facilities, a science museum, a planetarium, an opera house, the Ágora, two bridges and gardens – and started working in Spain. His project changed the face of a very underdeveloped and depressed area of Valencia.
In 2004, following Calatrava’s first building in the United States – the expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum in 1994 – he opened an office in New York City. Further projects in the United States include the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California (his first bridge in the United States), the bridges over the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City. Later commissions in the USA included the first building for the Florida Polytechnic University’s new campus and the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Selected projects completed since 2000 include Sondica Airport, Bilbao (2000); Pont de l’Europe, Orléans (2000); Bodegas Ysios Winery in Laguardia (2001); Puente de la Mujer in Buenos Aires (2001); James Joyce Bridge, Dublin (2003); Auditorio de Tenerife, Santa Cruz (2003); Three Bridges over the Hoofdvaart, Hoofdoorp (2004); Athens Olympic Sports Complex (2004); Zurich University Law Faculty (2004); Turning Torso Tower, Malmö (2005); Petah Tikva Bridge (2006); the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences (2006); Three Bridges in Reggio Emilia (2007); Light Rail Train Bridge in Jerusalem (the Bridge of Strings, 2008); Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande, Venice (2008); l´Assut de l´Or Bridge in Valencia (2008); the Liège-Guillemins TGV Railway Station (2009); the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin (2009); the New York City Ballet Collaboration (2010), Palacio de Congresos, Oviedo (2011); Calgary’s Peace Bridge (2012); the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas (2012) and the Stazione Mediopadana in Reggio Emilia (2013); the Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro (2015).
Other projects currently being designed or under construction elsewhere in the world include the Margaret McDermott Bridge, Dallas; Città dello Sport, Rectorate and Campus Master Plan for Roma II University in Tor Vergata, Rome; Marina d’Arechi, Salerno; Yuan Ze University Performing Arts Center, Arts and Design School and Y. Z. Hsu Memorial Hall, Taipei; Gare de Mons Railway Station in Mons; the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York; the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in New York City and the Sharq Crossing masterplan in Doha, Qatar – three inter-connected bridges, between 600 and 1’310 metres in length, connecting eight kilometres of subsea tunnels.
Doha’s Sharq Crossing will be one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken in the Middle East, linking Doha’s Hamad International Airport with the city’s cultural district of Katara in the north and the downtown central business district of West Bay – at a total of 12 kilometres. The Sharq Crossing features an unsurpassed combination of an efficient civil engineering solution and the design of three unique bridges – which will provide an iconic skyline for the city of Doha to the world.