The architecture of Santiago Calatrava

Paul Goldberger in The New Yorker:

051031mast_4_r14547_p198Eero Saarinen’s swooping concrete T.W.A. terminal, at Kennedy Airport, has often been compared to a bird with outstretched wings. When Saarinen, who died in 1961, was asked if that was what he meant his building to look like, he responded that people could say whatever they wanted, but he had far more serious things on his mind than birds. The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who has been greatly influenced by Saarinen’s forms, takes the opposite tack—he embraces analogies between his buildings and living creatures. If Calatrava had designed the T.W.A. terminal, he would have named it the Soaring Eagle.

And so Calatrava’s first high-rise apartment tower, in Malmö, Sweden, has been christened the Turning Torso. The title is a reference to a white marble sculpture, by Calatrava, of a human form in motion; in 1999, the five-foot-high work so captivated the building’s developer that he hired Calatrava to stretch the piece into a skyscraper—even though the architect had not yet designed one. The fifty-four-story structure, which has views of Copenhagen from across the Øresund Strait, opens in November. There are a hundred and forty-seven apartments—each of which has slanting windows, curving walls, and oddly shaped rooms—and all of them have been rented.

Calatrava is the most crowd-pleasing architect since Frank Gehry.

More here.

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