1951–, Spanish architect, b. Benimamet, near Valencia, grad. Institute of Architecture, Valencia (1974), Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich (Ph.D., 1981). He opened an architectural and engineering practice in Zürich in 1981 and later expanded to Valencia and Paris. Influenced by the work of Eero Saarinen, Calatrava has become known for the arching sculptural forms of his large public buildings. These railway stations, bridges, airports, museums, and other structures are built of concrete, metal, and glass and are rarely completely enclosed. The unusual spaces and swooping shapes of these works, which often seem poised for flight, reflect a refined aesthetic sensibility informed by engineering skill. Among his most notable commissions are the Stadelhofen Railway Station, Zürich (1984); Lyons Airport Terminal, France (1994); Campo Volantin Footbridge, Bilbao, Spain (1998); Science City, Valencia, Spain (2000); and the opera house, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands (2003).
Motion is often important in his work, as in his first American building, the Milwaukee Art Museum's Quadracci Pavilion (2001), which includes louvered sunscreens that rise from the building like giant wings, opening and closing to control light. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub in lower Manhattan (2016) is a largely white marble station with a large, soaring main hall with ribs and a ribbonlike skylight within an aboveground structure originally designed to echo a dove. Plagued by cost overruns and alterations due to cost and security concerns, it has been criticized as a boondoggle but nonetheless become a landmark. Calatrava is also known for his drawings and sculpture, which have been exhibited in numerous galleries since 1985.
- See his Dynamic Equilibrium, Recent Projects (1996) and Conversations with Students: The MIT Lectures (2002);.
- studies by D. Sharp, ed. (1994), K. Frampton, ed. (1996), S. Polano (1996, tr. 1999), A. Tzonis (1996), S. van Moos, ed. (1998), L. Molinari, ed. (1999);.
- P. Jodidio (2001), A. Cuito, ed. (2002), and M. Levin (2002).