04 November, 2007

Calatrava Worship

Knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of Calatrava admirers in the world, it feels a little strange for me to say that the more of his work I see, the less impressed I am. Individually, most of his structures are quite powerful, but I feel like I haven't seen a design portfolio this bereft of versatility since learning about Gaudi. Gaudi, however, started working a century ago and was far ahead of his time. I must ask, what's Calatrava's excuse? The fact that any of his famous works are instantly recognized as a "Calatrava" should be considered a weakness. After the Reina Sophia and the Madrid airport, it's clear he isn't the only person who can pull off these sorts of alien, organic structures. And as for the "all-white" structures, I'm sure that he espouses some sort of purity of form as his reasoning, but to me it just reeks of pretentiousness. There are plenty of celebrity architects who use their influence to push the envelope of architecture, I wish Calatrava would join them from time to time.

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