Mar 162 min read

Decoding Santiago Calatrava's Architecture

written by

Aishwarya Bomble

From his humble beginnings at the Polytechnic University of Valencia to the global recognition earned by his iconic structures, Calatrava's visionary designs redefine the boundaries of possibility. Dive into his remarkable creations, from the fluid waves of the Mediopadana Station in Italy to the soaring arches of the Oculus in New York, each a tribute to his exceptional blend of engineering precision and artistic vision. Read more to get awestruck by his legacy and marvel at the transformative power of architecture inspired by the dimensions of nature.


Santiago Calatrava began his academic journey at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, graduating in 1974. He later pursued structural engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, earning his Ph.D. in 1979 with a thesis titled “On the Foldability of Frames.” In 1981, Calatrava founded his architecture and engineering firm in Zürich, expanding to offices in Paris, Valencia, and New York. 

When Sevilla, Spain, was hosting Expo '92, the city required the construction of bridges to facilitate access to an island designated for exhibitions. Santiago Calatrava's Alamillo Bridge (1987–92), designed specifically for this purpose, quickly garnered global recognition.


Image Credits - Aishwarya Bomble

Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Year - 2015

Typology - Museum

Concept -  Look like a ship, bird, or plant floating on the sea


Image Credits - The Guardian

The Oculus (New York, USA)

Year - 2016

Typology - Transportation hub

Concept - Bird taking flight from the hands showing hope


Image Credits - Hufton+Crow

Florida Polytechnic Science (Lakeland, USA)

Year - 2014

Typology - Science Centre

Concept - Resembling a hat or a cage-like structure


Image Credits - Florida Politics

Mediopadana Station (Reggio Emilia, Italy)

Year - 2013

Typology - Train Station

Concept - Appearance of a fluid wave


Image Credits - Parametric Architecture

Lisbon Oriente Station (Lisbon, Portugal)

Year - 1998

Typology - Transportation hub

Concept - Resembles Forest Canopy & Gothic ribs


Image Credits - Benjamin Hemer

L'Hemispheric (Valencia, Spain)

Year - 1998

Typology - Planetarium

Concept - Resemble a human eye


Image Credits - Michael Echteld 

“Architecture is a pure code derived from the dimensions of nature” by Ar. Santiago Calatrava

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Aishwarya Bomble

Aishwarya Bomble

An architect who is always on the go to share stories of her countless journeys.