Santiago Calatrava Valls is an architect, structural engineer and sculptor of Spanish nationality having his main office in Zürich, Switzerland. He is considered to be one of the best designers in the world. Apart from Switzerland, he also has offices in Valencia, New York and Paris.
Among his latest projects we could mention 80 South Street, which is a residential skyscraper which has its name after its own address, and which is made of 10 city houses shaped as cubes placed one on top of the other. These houses have a pattern resembling a ladder and so each house has a roof of its own. This so-called 'townhouse in the sky" type of design has brought Mr. Calatrava a lot of clients, despite the enormous price of $30.000.000 for each cube in particular.
Calatrava is also the author of what was once an approved project, but it is currently canceled: that of the Chicago Spire skyscraper in the city of Chicago. It was abandoned out of financial reasons. The building was intended to be constructed starting in 2007, in August, and to be finished in the year of 2011. It might have been North America's tallest building. Unfortunately (perhaps), this project was canceled at the beginning of 2010.
At any rate, Calatrava's works also include a number of three bridges in Dallas, over the Trinity River. However, the building of the very first bridge, called Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge after its donor, was continuously postponed because of financial difficulties again. This has brought up many controversial debates, and critiques..
Another impressive project belonging to the Spanish designer is the Tenerife Concert Hall. It is situated in Santa Cruz, Tenerife's capital, in the Los Llanos area. It is located between the port's edge and Marine Park and it is a connection between the ocean and the city, being highly appreciated as part of the city.
The Tenerife Auditorium is a building finished in the year of 2003. This building has a very famous organic structure under the form of white-blue sails. The auditorium has a big concert hall, an opera hall and some other smaller rooms. It is one of the city's emblems and one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It is located close to Santa Cruz of Tenerife port, and therefore it is close to the sea. It represents one of the main tourist attractions in Tenerife and Canary Islands.
This building is made entirely out of concrete, and what is most interesting about it is its roof. The roof rises from the base, much like a wave crashing and it goes up to 58 meters over the principal auditorium, and then curves down and narrows to an exact point. The plinth of the building creates a public plaza which covers the site and permits grade changes between different levels of the adjoining roads. The complex includes an auditorium, which has 1,800 seats and a hall of chamber music containing 400 seats. The technical facilities together with the dressing rooms are placed in the plinth, which is made of volcanic stone called basalt.
The artist's entrance is made of wide arches that span 50 meters on each side. The main entrance of the auditorium is situated on the raised plaza to the northeast direction, under the roof's sculpted and curved shell made of concrete. Despite the fact that the service and administrative zones plus the central auditorium have air-conditioning, other public lobbies and circulated areas can benefit from the pleasant climate of the island. Thus, there is a natural ventilation done through the glazed zones which are either between, or beneath the concrete shells of the construction.
To obtain good acoustics, the interior is paneled in wood, a detail which also offers a dramatic atmosphere to the space. The sound reflectors were positioned pursuant to some laser tests, by which they also determined the dimensions of the interior with its vaults. Also, the stage curtains were replaced here with a screen made of some slats made of aluminum. When these slats are opened, they are lifted up within the auditorium acting thus as a reflector of sound above the pit of the orchestra.