Santiago Calatrava Valls (born 28 July 1951 in Valencia) is a Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer whose principal office is in Zürich, Switzerland. Classed now among the elite designers of the world, he has offices in Zürich, Paris, Valencia, and New York City.
Calatrava was born in Benimàmet, an old municipality now integrated as an urban part of Valencia, Spain, where he pursued his undergraduate architecture degree at the Polytechnic University of Valencia along with a post-graduate course in urbanism. During his schooldays, he also undertook independent projects with a group of fellow students, bringing out two books on the vernacular architecture of Valencia and Ibiza Following graduation in 1975, he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland, for graduate work in civil engineering. In 1981, after completing his doctoral thesis, "On the Foldability of Space Frames", he started his architecture and engineering practice.
Calatrava's early career was largely dedicated to bridges and train stations, with designs that elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona, Spain (1991) in the heart of the 1992 Olympics site, as well as the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto, Canada (1992), were important works and turning points in his career, leading to a wide range of commissions. The Quadracci Pavilion (2001) of the Milwaukee Art Museum was his first building in the United States. Calatrava's entry into high-rise design began with an innovative 54-story-high twisting tower called Turning Torso (2005), located in Malmö, Sweden.
Calatrava has designed a futurisitc train station, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, at the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City.
Calatrava's style has been heralded as bridging the division between structural engineering and architecture. In the projects, he continues a tradition of Spanish modernist engineering that included Félix Candela, Antonio Gaudí, and Rafael Guastavino. Nonetheless, his style is also very personal, and derives from numerous studies of the human body and the natural world.
On 10 December 2011 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture for a five year renewable term by Pope Benedict XVI.
Calatrava is also a prolific sculptor and painter, claiming that the practice of architecture combines all the arts into one.