How is this still happening?
Photo: Calatrava, Camps y Barberá in the presentation of the model for three towers that were never built, but for which he charged 15m€. Manuel Bruque, EFE, 2005
How is Santiago Calatrava still building? The (probable) world record architect in lawsuits did it again.
It is fascinating to see this architect, designing gigantesque futurist sculptures, without any consideration for the amount of public money wasted or the surrounding context of his architecture. Somewhere in the process, a monster ego hides the surrounding, its history, and each construction appears like a drawing on a blank page. We’re there at the radical opposition of an integrated architecture, of any integrated practice.
His last victim, Rio de Janeiro.
This disconnection from reality, unfortunately, is probably what seduces so much some political actors, who would like to be remembered as great visionaries and want to leave an architectural piece of history behind them. These probably believe that no politician would be remembered as the one who saved public money, by constructing modest, rational, sustainable buildings. That’s their big mistake, as they will most likely be remembered as these who corruptly indebted their city forever (hi Rita Barberá, good luck for your future trial).
The impressive engeneering of Calatrava’s debuts are now a terribly bad joke. Crumbling roof and floods in the Opera house in Valencia, ridiculously slippery bridges in Bilbao and Vistabella, defective metalic structure of the Torso of Malmö, the 500m2 falling element in the Palacio de Congresos de Oviedo… These are just few examples of the poor job Calatrava does. This added to the constant cost overrun (2 billion$ extra for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a.o.), and despite possible explainations, remains the initial question. How is this still happening?
Calatrava hopes that his best work is still to come, and that’s wierdly scary.
More on the topic:
Calatrava no nos calla, formerly known as Calatrava te la clava (Calatrava bleeds you dry)