August 04, 2003
Who is Santiago Calatrava? – on being a bright fifteen-year-old again

The New York Times comments approvingly on the fact that the man who designed this beautiful footbridge in Bilbao will also be doing some stuff at Ground Zero.

Perhaps the most important of these is the bold choice of Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish architect, to design a new PATH terminal on the site of the World Trade Center. Mr. Calatrava is a master of transportation architecture, and his selection provides just the kind of commitment to serious architecture that this page has often hoped for. His open, organic structures are startlingly beautiful, often evoking the kind of uplifting spirituality that this site will need. The fact that Mr. Calatrava was chosen by the Port Authority suggests that even the most matter-of-fact participants in rebuilding ground zero can see the wonder of its possibilities.

This man would appear to be what David Sucher calls a starchitect. Clever word. Did you think of it David?

Personally I tend to like starchitecture these days, although not in the earlier decades of my life, but I'll leave that argument until later.

For now I just want to give the Internet a pat on the back. The Internet, I think, is very good, which I did not think of first, but which I am now thinking with particular thoughtfulness.

I was once a failing architecture student, and as regulars here now know, I remain a (st)architecture fan. But until recently, I despaired at the cost of keeping up with it all. Keeping up means you had to have pictures, and pictures on paper are just too expensive, and too bulky to share a flat with if you get at all serious.

Until today, I had no idea who Santiago Calatrava was, or about that beautiful footbridge in Bilbao. I am, in short, thanks to the Internet, catching up.

I dined with Michael Jennings last night, and he was likewise raving about how much sheer stuff the average bright fifteen-year-old now has at his finger tips, compared to the time when he was a bright fifteen-year-old, searching through inadequate libraries for dumbed down books about whatever it was, that as likely as not weren't there at all.

I am now going to do a posting on my Education Blog, linking to this one, because the real point of this posting here is not Hurrah For Calatrava. It is hurrah that I was able to learn about the guy, and so amazingly quickly.

About fifteen minutes ago, I knew nothing of him. Then, the daily New York Times email, and I'm straight to the op-ed piece linked to above. Google search: "Santiago Calatrava". Bingo. Now I've done about half an essay on him. Education or what? I am myself back to being a bright fifteen-year-old.

Next question: what is a "PATH terminal"?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:00 PM
Category: ArchitectureThe Internet