Video: Architecture Defined

By Gillian Wong, Editorial Intern

Actions may speak louder than words, but sometimes it is necessary to sit down and think about what messages you’re trying to send through your work. In a recent YouTube video, Santiago Calatrava does just that.

As designer of the Chicago Spire and Puente del Alamillo, Calatrava is known for bridging the gap between structural engineering and architecture. In his interview, Calatrava speaks firmly, establishing with conviction what he thought to be the essential aspects of architecture, what it aims to do, and the meaning behind it. “It’s a time capsule,” he claims. Revealing a far more personal opinion about the field of architecture than is typically heard, Calatrava ignores all of the details architects are usually concerned with—room dimensions, energy-efficiency, etc.—and elaborated instead on the essence of architecture: beauty, utility, and solidity, or permanence in time.

Currently working on designing the future World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Calatrava says, about the 9/11 attack, “If we think of these buildings as containers, which were attacked by other containers, filled with other people—that shows a great contempt for humanity.” He goes on to say that the only solution to such violence is love and conviction.

If his theory is right, New York may have gotten the perfect architect for the job after all.

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