Will Anyone Hire Santiago Calatrava After this Exposé?

While many of Santiago Calatrava's anatomically-inspired designs are lauded, in Valencia - the architect's birthplace and the city where he's built the most - Calatrava is reviled for cost overruns, exorbitant fees, and inexplicable design errors.
September 25, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Andrey Belenko

"Along with Frank Gehry, Richard Meier, Renzo Piano and Norman Foster, Mr. Calatrava swept to prominence in an era of showstopping architecture," writes Suzanne Daley. "Across the globe, he has designed dozens of structures, almost invariably white, including the Liège-Guillemins railway station in Belgium; the Turning Torso skyscraper in Malmo, Sweden; and the Milwaukee Art Museum, with its mechanical roof."

"But in numerous interviews, other architects, academics and builders say that Mr. Calatrava is amassing an unusually long list of projects marred by cost overruns, delays and litigation. It is hard to find a Calatrava project that has not been significantly over budget. And complaints abound that he is indifferent to the needs of his clients."

“What you see over and over again is that rather than searching for functionality or customer satisfaction, he aims for singularity,” said Jesús Cañada Merino, the president of Bilbao’s architects’ association. “The problem is that Calatrava is above and beyond the client.”

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Published on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 in The New York Times
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