Calatrava Receives European Prize for Architecture

John Hill
18. November 2015
Calatrava holding the laurel wreath award, with his PATH Terminal visible through the glass. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

In a ceremony last night overlooking the World Trade Center, the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies gave Santiago Calatrava its European Prize for Architecture.

Calatrava was named the recipient of the esteemed prize last month, when Athenaeum director Christian Narkiewicz-Laine described the architect's buildings as "not just 'building.' They are powerful works of art." Narkiewicz-Laine echoed those sentiments in his remarks last night before handing over two laurel wreaths to Calatrava: one a metallic award, and one made from leaves picked recently from the base of the Parthenon. (Calatrava tried on the latter wreath with amusement, but he did not leave it on the rest of the night.)

Most fitting about the evening's festivities was its setting overlooking the ongoing construction site of the World Trade Center, which includes two Calatrava-designed buildings: the uplifting yet controversial PATH Terminal and the petit St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Since the ceremony took place on a floor of 7 WTC leased by Larry Silverstein, the space consisted of numerous models of the WTC site and PATH Terminal – miniature versions of the reality unfolding outside.

Model of World Trade Center site with PATH Terminal nestled between Richard Rogers' 3WTC on the right and Norman Foster's pre-BIG 2WTC on the left. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
A large-scale cutaway model of the PATH Terminal (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Peering inside the large-scale cutaway model of the PATH Terminal. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The real thing nearing completion outside (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

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