In 1998 the monograph on Santiago Calatrava presents a raisonné selection of projects by the prolific Valencian architect and engineer. At a time when Calatrava architectures are a focus of debate both by critics and generalist media the book examines the many aspects of Calatrava practice and sides the solo exhibition curated by Luca Molinari at Triennale di Milano.
After the review by Pierluigi Nicolin that brought Calatrava design to the forefront of international debate, in 1987, by defining his whole professional experience a “daring flight”, the Spanish architect carried on a huge amount of projects, working on almost 200 projects, of which 50 completed, within the following decade.
His projects cross the main architectural topics of those years such as “the relationship between architecture and engineering, the profession crisis, the difficulties of public acknowledgement and specialized critique to identify a language and the tools to interpret complex and multifaceted design” such as Calatrava’s.
To the frequent accusation arisen against Calatrava formalism the publication opens up to the highly experimental design of his works “that face the contemporary complexity through exemplary artifacts that immediately become new and recognisable signs of the metropolitan landscape and go beyond strict building typologies”
The catalogue is developed in five sections: Premises which include the most famous projects of the years between 1979 and 1985 (when Zurich railway station was started), In movimento; Coprire, unire e collegare; Nuovi segni nel territorio; and eventually, I ponti. From Valencia to Sevilla, going through Paris, London and Venice it is precisely the bridges which best summarise the tireless research by Calatrava and his virtuous relation with technology, architectural aesthetics and project context.