AIA Goes Mile-High
Like every worthwhile professional gathering, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) national convention held in Denver, Colorado in May was part education, part work, and part inspiration.
The 16,500 participating architects and other design industry professionals learned about a range of pressing "livability" issues -- sustainability, affordable housing, urban revitalization. They also resolved to attack some national and internal problems, and heard from several of the world's most respected practitioners.
Those presenting keynote addresses at the 133rd AIA Convention included gold medalist Michael Graves, FAIA, Daniel Libeskind, and Santiago Calatrava, whose first work in the United States, the Milwaukee Art Museum, is nearing completion.
Calatrava Bridges Motion and Art
Architect/engineer/sculptor Santiago Calatrava spoke on "Design Arts and Implementation." He presented images of his work — bridges, buildings, and sculptures — and explained the connections between design concept and the forms he creates.
As an example of how a building's movement affects its nature, Calatrava presented images of the Kuwait Pavilion, created for the 1992 Expo in Seville, Spain, whose segmented roof pieces separate and then regroup to create a changing sculptural form against the sky.
"Both architecture and engineering are arts," said Calatrava, reminding the audience that the two have been separate professions only for the last 150 years. Calatrava's bridges reinforce this notion.
For example, his singular sense of design is evident in the asymmetrically curved, cable-stayed Campo Volatin Bridge in Bilboa, Spain "We have to think about how important bridges are to communities," Calatrava said. "They have incredible potential to revitalize cities."
Santiago Calatrava speaks at the May, 2001 AIA National Convention.
Photo: The American Institute of Architects
The structure of Calatrava's Campo Volantin Footbridge is an inclined parabolic arch.
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