Calatrava Wins 'Europe's Highest Award'

John Hill
13. October 2015
Innovation Science and Technology Building (Photo: Courtesy of The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies)

Santiago Calatrava has been named the 2015 recipient of the European Prize for Architecture, awarded by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

Per an announcement from the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre, the European Prize for Architecture is "Europe’s most prestigious prize given annually to architects who have blazoned a new path and direction for an architecture that is deeply humane and committed to forward the principles of European humanism."

Narkiewicz-Laine from the Chicago Athenaeum said in the announcement, "Calatrava is more than just an architect. He is a visionary theorist, philosopher, and utopian and a true artist in the craft of engineering and architectonic expressionism. His buildings are not just 'building.' They are powerful works of art; inspired by a master's gifted hand and sculpted by a superior, critical eye; immensely evocative and fiercely intellectual."

The award and these extremely positive words come as Calatrava is out of favor with some people due to the expense of realizing his designs and issues with construction and maintenance. Most notably, the cost of the Port Authority station at the World Trade Center has nearly doubled to approximately $4 billion USD, in part due to Calatrava's design, and he was sued by his native Valencia, Spain, over the cost of repairs to the supposedly rapidly deteriorating City of Arts and Sciences.

The award ceremony will be held at the World Trade Center in New York on 17 November 2015, after which an exhibition on the works of Calatrava is scheduled to open at The Chicago Athenaeum's Burnham Center and then travel to The European Centre’s Contemporary Space Athens in 2016. 

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