Image by Palladium Photodesign
Despite the high-profile controversies surrounding Santiago Calatrava’s notably over-budget Ground Zero subway station project, it’s hard to argue against his being one of the most perception-altering architects of these contemporary times. Indeed, we’ve been known to enthusiastically make the trip from Brussels to Maastricht, just to be able to change trains at his breathtaking Liège-Guillemins railway station.
His particular brand of aesthetic alchemy will be commensurably celebrated at a comprehensive exhibition – Santiago Calatrava: Art and Architecture – opening at Prague’s Stone Bell House late this spring. From his ambitious 1998 City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia – which arguably moved him into the realm of “starchitect” – to his breathtaking 2004 Olympic Sports Complex in Athens to the controversial 2008 Ponte della Costituzione in Venice and on to 2016’s monumental World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the career survey will present the case that the Spanish polymath’s work (strongly influenced by the human anatomy and the natural world) has gone a very long way to changing the way we see the built world – and that he might arguably be considered something of a modern day Da Vinci.
Indeed, his oeuvre also includes paintings and sculptures, some of which have even been on display at the Vatican Museum in Rome. But this exhibit will include more than a hundred of his drawings, plus a collection of his fascinating original sketchbooks.
“This exhibition provides an exceptional glimpse of Calatrava’s singularity,” enthuses curator Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, “his constant search for an individual artistic path, and how he has established his own architectural vocabulary, far from all the conventions of his time – with a completely new internal logic, and in a way, through sculpture.”
The show runs from June 7 to September 16. A corresponding hardcover book will be available for purchase in the Stone Bell Store.
Photo by Alan Karchmer